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Dallas Cowboys Draft Targets at Cornerback

The month of April couldn’t have come quicker for most Dallas Cowboys fans. After a disappointing loss in the first round of the playoffs and a less than satisfying start to free agency, Dallas fans can turn their attention to an area where America’s Team has typically excelled over the past decade, as the Dallas Cowboys draft classes have largely been successful.

The NFL Draft is quickly approaching, and the Cowboys are wrapping up evaluations and hosting potential targets with each of their nine selections in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. The pressure will be on Will McClay and the Joneses to put this team in a position to be the first repeat winner the NFC East has seen since the Eagles won four straight from 2001-04.

However, after an offseason that started with more departures than additions, a strong draft haul has never been more crucial. Let’s take a look at the Dallas Cowboys draft targets at each position, starting at cornerback in this article.

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Dallas Cowboys Draft Targets: Cornerback

The draft plan Dallas had for the cornerback position at the start of April has likely been altered with the recent news on Kelvin Joseph. It appeared the Cowboys were primarily looking for depth options considering their top three corners were back, and Joseph was likely to push for significant playing time as well.

However, Joseph’s NFL future is in serious doubt after he was present for a shooting in which members of his party killed a man in a drive-by shooting following an altercation in a club. While the second-year corner was not the shooter, he was in the vehicle, which has put his future in jeopardy.

Having said that, what was once a possible day-three priority could turn into the Cowboys scrambling to get more details on the corners in this class in case one presents the right value when they are on the clock. While the timing of this makes it more of a challenge, it would be understandable if Dallas drafted a corner sooner than initially thought.

Where the Cowboys could look to add help

I’m still not sold that the Cowboys would draft a cornerback with a top-100 pick, but it’s certainly a possibility now. We’ve seen the Cowboys pass on needs when the value of another prospect was too good to pass on. That would probably have to be the case.

Still, Anthony Brown is in the final year of his contract, while Jourdan Lewis and Trevon Diggs will be in the boat in 2023. With Joseph possibly out of the picture, adding another corner to the long-term plan would make sense.

Kaiir Elam Draft Profile: Stats, Highlights and 2022 NFL Draft Projection dallas cowboys
Credit: John Raoux/AP Photo

Top-100 Dallas Cowboys Draft Targets

Kaiir Elam, Florida

Any corner on day one seems like a stretch right now because Dallas hasn’t shown a lot of interest in the top corners. Still, Kaiir Elam has a reasonable chance at getting to 24 and fits Dan Quinn’s mold at the position.

He’s a tall corner with a solid build for the position, and that, along with his strength, allows him to be physical at the line. Elam plays calm and under control with exceptional recovery speed. He may not be the twitchiest corner in this class, but the Cowboys don’t value that as much with their perimeter corners.

Like Diggs, Elam would line up in press-man most of the time, and he’s got similar ball skills. He could push to start opposite Diggs, allowing Brown and Lewis to compete for the nickel job.

Tariq Woolen, UTSA

While Elam would push to start right away, my next several prospects may need a little patience. Woolen’s combination of size, length, and speed is nothing short of elite, but he is still somewhat new to the defensive side.

His timing at the position is still all over the place as a former wide receiver. Woolen isn’t always patient with his jam or when he flips his hips, and can be late at times as well. His footwork needs to be more efficient, and Woolen s simply not ready for NFL reps in off coverage until his route recognition takes a big step forward.

While the Cowboys already have a cornerback they are grooming in Nashon Wright, Woolen’s upside could be too extraordinary to pass on. If he is available approaching 56, the Cowboys should at least have a conversation about keeping the Ft. Worth product in Texas.

Joshua Williams, Fayetteville State

Williams is another tall, long athlete, and while he’s not as technically raw as Woolen, he still relies on his physical abilities over proper technique too often. However, that must change as he makes the jump from D-II to NFL.

Still, he’s got impressive feet for a corner that measures just under 6’3” and his ball skills mimic that of someone who was a receiver for three years in high school. In addition to cleaning up his technical ability, Williams also needs to get stronger.

He likely won’t see significant defensive reps until year two, but he’s got the exceptional size and athleticism that Quinn loves on the perimeter. He will be an option at 88 for the Cowboys.

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Other Intriguing Dallas Cowboys Draft Targets

Zyon McCollum, Sam Houston State

Zyon McCollum is another tall, speedy corner that will need to improve his technique to make up for the significant jump in talent at the NFL level. However, one thing that stands out about McCollum is his physical nature.

While the strength of his opponents will also take a leap from what he’s used to at the FCS level, he is an aggressive tackler on defense and special teams. McCollum will need to get stronger, which may take a hit on his elite athleticism.

Still, explosiveness and straight-line speed aren’t going to disappear. I could see the Cowboys targeting him if he gets to day three as a developmental project that can help on special teams immediately.

Akayleb Evans, Missouri

Evans has a lot of similarities to McCollum, as a tall, long corner with exceptional speed that can help on special teams right away as teams try to beef him up and clean up some technical flaws.

My biggest issue is he can be late reacting to what he sees, negating his exceptional burst and recovery speed. Evans also tends to play out of control, making it difficult to react and mirror his opponents.

He may not have the upside of some of the corners above him on this list, but the idea that he can grow into a capable starting corner isn’t out of the cards. However, if the Cowboys grabbed him in the top half of day three, I could see him being a quality backup on the perimeter moving forward.

Daron Bland, Fresno State

A year after the Cowboys shocked many by reaching on Wright at the end of the third round, I’m not going to overlook any corner Dallas has shown a lot of interest in during the draft process.

Bland has long arms and exceptional athleticism that shows up on his limited tape at Fresno State. Like most on this list, he needs to take a huge step in his development before he’s ready to push for defensive snaps.

Still, after playing at Sacramento State for four years, Bland’s only FBS action came in his senior year with the Bulldogs. His best football should be ahead of him if he can start processing the game faster, and Dallas could call his name late on day three.

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