Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2015 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features cornerback Orlando Scandrick.)
Name: Orlando Scandrick
Experience: 7 seasons
College: Boise State
Key stat: Scandrick deserves all the credit he gets for routinely locking down receivers. His skill as a tackler deserves a mention, too. He had 55 stops on the season, and he had an impressive knack for sniffing out plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Contract Status: Signed through 2016
2014 Impact: There have been very few that have walked through these doors here at Valley Ranch and been prepared to do their job better than Orlando Scandrick. It is rare that you can find a player that can play at a high athletic level but also with the intelligence as well. Scandrick is the total package in both regards. I have always respected his ability to prepare for a game and how he carries that over to the field. He is as solid as they come when playing coverage. The fact that you can line him up on the outside or kick him inside to play the slot is a huge plus for this club. His ability to cover the opponents best in those critical situations when trying to get off the field on 3rd downs was a real key down the stretch when the club was fighting to get in the playoffs and once in. Despite his lack of height, he plays like a much bigger player. Would not say from a scouting perspective that he has good strength overall but you do see him battle receivers along the line and down the field while holding his own. He is a competitive player on tape. There were also snaps where he took on blockers at the point of attack and was able to disengage to get in on the play. Thought he tackled better this season than he had in the past but still had his share of misses. If there is an area of concern for me in regards to his game it would be his ball skills. I clearly recall several opportunities where he had a chance for an interception and the ball bounced off his hands. If he somehow makes those plays, then we might be talking about a Pro Bowl player.
Where He Fits: Orlando Scandrick is the best cornerback on this squad and he knows it - the problem is that he also lets everyone else know it too. Can be combative and abrasive in his approach but I have a feeling that is what keeps him on edge. I will say that he appeared to be more approachable which hasn't always been the case with him in the past. Things that he might have been sensitive of in the past appear to no longer bother him. Since Brandon Carr has been with the club, he has always played on the right side but the fact that we have seen him line up all over the place it might be time to see how he handles things dealing with the ball being throwing at him down after down on the left side. He has the confidence to handle that assignment in my opinion.
David Helman: Scandrick fits the best of both worlds for the Cowboys – both from a coaching standpoint and the personnel side of things. He continually ups his level of play and has turned into one of the top slot corners in the league. When considering that fact, you'd have to say his five-year, $15 million contract is a bargain at this point. Scandrick is the only sure thing at the cornerback spot for this team, and he's coming at an affordable cost. It's easy to forget at this point, but Scandrick had the best season of his career after serving a suspension through the first three games of the season. It's safe to say he didn't miss a beat, as he immediately replaced Morris Claiborne in the starting lineup. We've established the fact before that he doesn't come away with the highlight plays. He had one in 2014, when he helped save the day against Chicago with an end zone pick in the dying minutes. Those plays might be few and far between, but it doesn't do anything to lessen Scandrick's impact. Opposing receivers quite simply don't hit him for big plays.