FRISCO, Texas –Three years ago as the newly-promoted defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, Kris Richard did some pre-draft homework on then-UConn prospect Byron Jones.
Jones started two years each at cornerback and safety in college, but Richard – a known proponent of taller, rangy players on the outside part of the secondary – saw Jones as a corner.
"Prototypical," Richard said. "Fantastic athlete, size, length, speed."
That vision is becoming reality this offseason with Richard as the Cowboys' new defensive passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach. Jones, the team's starting free safety the last two seasons, is moving back to corner as Richard tries to align his new personnel in ways that best fit his style.
Bigger corners, Richard believes, can use their length and power to disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage and beyond.
Jones (6-0, 205), is also outstanding athlete who set a broad jump world record at the 2015 NFL Combine.
"Everything is there," Richard said. "He has a great attitude. He's been working really hard from Day 1. I'm thrilled to be around him."
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli says Richard, the defensive backs coach for the famous "Legion of Boom" secondary that won the 2013 Super Bowl, might be the Cowboys' best offseason acquisition as a teacher and communicator.
And Jones is excited about his transition to corner for the first time since his rookie season in 2015. The Cowboys begin the organized team activities portion of their voluntary offseason program next week.
"He said he likes long, rangy corners," Jones said. "I think I'm a perfect player for what he wants.
"I'm getting there. A lot of work to go, but I'm comfortable. I'm going to get there."