Now that free agency has hit, the focus is shifting towards the draft. DallasCowboys.com will feature players who are currently under contract for next season, analyzing their past season and their future prospects.
Today, we continue the series with cornerback Chido Awuzie.
What's Been Good:
For a player that started his career in and out of the training room for the first few months, Awuzie has been a more consistent contributor, evident by his 16 games played this past season. He played in 15 games in 2018, after only 10 games as a rookie. He's also been a capable performer, starting 30 of 32 games the past two seasons. He also had a rather rare highlight in Week 1 last season, chasing down Giants running back Saquon Barkley. Next Gen stats charted Awuzie running 22.8 mph across the field to contain Barkley, one of the fastest recorded time in recent history.
What's Been Bad:
The fact that Awuzie was benched in the middle of the biggest game of the season last year isn't exactly a positive sign. Many believe that Byron Jones' coverage stats were a bit inflated simply because teams chose to throw more at Awuzie. Against the Eagles in Week 16, the Cowboys inserted Jourdan Lewis to the cornerback spot in the base defense. Awuzie led all Cowboys defensive backs last year with five penalties for 71 yards. And he's only had one interception in each of the last three years, giving him just three so far for his career.
For now, Awuzie still figures to be this team's No. 1 cornerback. Even if the Cowboys decide to draft a corner in the first round, he would likely have some learning to do. The Cowboys have re-signed Anthony Brown and Lewis is still in the mix. But 2020 will be a contract year for Awuzie. He will have to out-perform his teammates in practice to earn playing time, but when the dust settles, it wouldn't be surprising at all if Awuzie rises to the top once again and becomes the Cowboys top corner this season.