(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 2016 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features defensive back Byron Jones.)
Name: Byron Jones
Height/Weight:6-0 / 205
Experience: 1 season
Key Stat:Here's how much the Cowboys counted on Jones at cornerback and safety in his rookie season: in the final 10 games, he came off the field for only three snaps.
Contract Status:Signed through 2018.
2015 Impact: Right in line with the plug-and-play players that this club has drafted in the last several years. Was clear from the outset Jones was going to play a major role on this defense. The coaches threw a lot at him and he was more than capable to handle it. His work ethic, competitiveness and physical toughness was outstanding. The fact that he was able to line up in several different spots and function well says a lot about the type of player they drafted. Is always around the ball. Not afraid to stick his nose in the action. Very good playing strength. Explosive strike to and through the ball. Feel like he is a better player when he can play up tight. When he can use his hands to control, it helps him stay in position. Did a nice job of playing in situations where he was asked to cover the athletic tight ends in the league. Physically was able to match up and mentally was able to handle the routes. Did not back down from the challenges that was thrown in his direction.
Where He Fits:His ability allows the scheme flexibility to play in a couple of different spots, but would like to see him line up at safety and go from there. Does a better job of playing in the middle of the field than Barry Church or J.J. Wilcox. Team has gone with more of a single-high look and that is right down his alley.
Rob Phillips: In an ideal scenario, the Cowboys seem to be leaning toward playing Jones at safety, and he does appear to fit best there because he has excellent awareness in the middle of the field and the right frame for the position to go along with his coverage skills. As Bryan said, he impressed the heck out of the coaching staff by accepting every challenge – nickel, dime, cornerback, free safety – and carrying out his assignments more often than not. The question will be how the Cowboys address cornerback this offseason and whether the Cowboys can indeed move Jones to safety full time. He does have the versatility to play either position, but sticking to one spot might accelerate his development.