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From the begin to the end of the 2022 season, some stats will inform you that the Dallas Cowboys had been a High-10 go protection. Nonetheless, these stats don’t inform you the entire story as to the difficulties the corners confronted all year long. In some ways, the Cowboys elite go rush primarily protected the cornerbacks on a number of events every recreation. One other issue that got here up was the damage bug.The franchise misplaced two main contributors to the secondary throughout the span of two months. Shedding gamers like Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown put the microscope squarely on their replacements.

These replacements featured younger gamers like Kelvin Joseph, DaRon Bland, Israel Mukuamu, and Nahshon Wright which had been all drafted throughout the final two draft cycles. There have been different veterans that made transient stops in Dallas like Xavier Rhodes and Mackensie Alexander, nevertheless it was the younger and inexperienced gamers like Joseph, Bland, Mukuamu, and Wright that acquired the vast majority of the reps whereas the staff was coping with the damage bug within the cornerback room.

Of the group of corners that stepped in as a result of damage scenario, it was DaRon Bland who stepped up and confirmed out with alternative that was given to him. Bland has seemingly placing himself in a great place forward of the 2023 season to nab a type of beginning gigs on protection, doubtless within the slot. Kelvin Joseph is extra of a particular groups participant to this point, and Nahshon Wright flashed potential at instances whereas additionally trying shaky due to the dearth of motion he has seen. Israel Mukuamu has been deployed in numerous methods whether or not it was at security or nook, and whereas taking part in the cornerback place confirmed some promise by the top of the yr.

At the moment, there may be one cornerback on the 2022 roster that’s now a free agent, and that’s Anthony Brown. The franchise not too long ago made a splash by including two time All-Professional cornerback, Stephon Gilmore through commerce, presumably he’ll take Brown’s spot. Even with this commerce, Gilmore’s present contract expires after the 2023 season which implies this fairly probably may very well be a one-year rental scenario. This commerce clearly helps within the short-term, however within the long-term drafting a nook early on on this yr’s draft continues to be a excessive precedence.

Listed below are three gamers that the Cowboys may draft early on to make the cornerback room that a lot stronger for the long run.

Joey Porter Jr., Penn State

Age: 22

Peak: 6-2.5

Weight: 193

Photograph by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire through Getty Pictures

Being the son of a former high-level NFL participant like Joey Porter Sr. put stress on Joey Porter Jr. to be good. Popping out of highschool, Porter Jr was a extremely touted four-star prospect out of the state of Pennsylvania. Nationally, he the 324th greatest participant within the class of 2019. At his place, he was the thirty third greatest nook within the nation. On the state degree, Porter was the 4th greatest participant in his class. Nearly as good as he was in highschool, the provide sheet mirrored it as he held affords from colleges like LSU, and Miami earlier than committing to in-state powerhouse Penn State.

Throughout his freshman season in 2019, Porter could be one in every of 19 true freshman to play in recreation as he would seem in 4 video games for the Nittany Lions. It was just a little little bit of sluggish burn for Porter by way of his high quality of play, however as annually handed, he turned a good higher soccer participant. He went from a quarterback score metric whereas being focused beginning at 156.3 to a mark of simply 63.6 by the point he left. In 34 profession video games performed, he would tally 113 complete tackles, 20 passes defended, and one interception.

Coming from a household that featured not simply his father but in addition his cousin Jason Gildon taking part in many seasons within the NFL, is an efficient bloodline to have within the device field. Porter is a really fluid participant that possesses good velocity and quickness that works properly in man protection. He possess high tier top, arms, and arm size for the place and he is aware of the right way to use the bodily skills to his benefit particularly within the bounce ball recreation. Don’t fret in regards to the lack of interceptions in school as quarterbacks would hardly ever throw the ball to the wideout he was overlaying. From a tackling perspective, it’s in his blood to be good and he’s a high degree participant on this division.

Even with the NFL pedigree, he isn’t an ideal prospect and does must refine his abilities in numerous areas. There may be nothing improper with being aggressive, however typically being a tad overzealous will get him in bother. Whereas in protection, he tends to seize the opposing participant greater than you desire to which resulted in the next quantity of flags being thrown in his route. Even with the great top, arms and arm size, he actually has room to bulk up extra given these traits. Having the peak that he possesses is certainly a plus, however he might want to play barely much less tall whereas in his stance.

The bodily instruments are apparent as he hits excessive marks on the place together with his arm size which he makes use of properly in protection. His tackling potential is high notch as this can be a energy of his on the skilled degree. Technically talking, he checks a lot of the bins as a prospect however he might want to study to be rather less aggressive and rather less handsy in protection. The teaching up portion shouldn’t be a lot of a transition as he’s been schooled properly for a few years. Porter, on this yr’s class, is about as shut of a certain factor at cornerback that you just’ll see and he ought to have a strong NFL profession simply as members of his household did.

Deonte Banks, Maryland

Age: 22

Peak: 6-0

Weight: 197

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports activities

Additionally from the 2019 recruiting class, Deonte Banks was the 77th greatest cornerback in addition to the twelfth greatest participant in his house state of Maryland. Banks was rated as a three-star prospect that didn’t have an enormous provide sheet. Faculties like Buffalo, and Kent State had been however he would keep house and play for the Maryland Terrapins.

Proper from the start, Banks would see quick motion as a real freshman by showing in 11 video games and beginning in eight of them. His sophomore season of 2020 was lower to solely 5 video games attributable to Covid. His junior season would comply with and that season was lower quick for Banks attributable to a shoulder damage within the second recreation. In his senior season with the Terps, he appeared in 12 video games and tallied 38 complete tackles in addition to an interception. After 4 seasons on campus, Financial institution would complete 83 tackles, and two interceptions.

Whereas on the taking part in discipline, Banks possesses large consciousness, particularly in route recognition. His consciousness additionally goes a good distance whereas monitoring and attacking balls coming in his route. There may be loads of physicality in his recreation, and he isn’t solely a keen tackler, however he’s strong on this space as properly. The entire instruments simply talked about, together with having the scale you search for, makes him an excellent prospect. Being an excellent prospect and given how properly he carried out on the mix, it’s simple to see why he’s climbing up draft boards.

Nearly as good of a prospect that Banks is, he does have some work to do with the intention to take his recreation to the following degree. The world during which some work will have to be completed is within the technical a part of his recreation due to the dearth of consistency. He additionally could be a little handsy, and seize onto opposing go catchers greater than you want to see which is able to lead to penalties on occasion. There can be instances that Banks will get a tad too aggressive and can be vulnerable to double strikes which can lead to huge performs being given up.

Combining his wonderful measurement, and size together with his large athleticism makes him a really intriguing prospect. If he can enhance on his method and be coached out of grabbing opposing huge outs a lot, then he has tons of potential.

Eli Ricks, LSU/Alabama

Age: 21

Peak: 6-2

Weight: 188

Photograph by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Pictures

Eli Ricks was a category of 2020 prospect. As a prospect, he was ranked 14th general within the nation in addition to the second greatest participant at his place and in his house state of California. In keeping with 24/7 sports activities, he’s ranked because the 294th greatest prospect since their service began in 2010. As you may see, he was a extremely touted five-star prospect with fairly the provide sheet. Faculties like Alabama and Georgia supplied him a scholarship however he turned them down for LSU.

As a real freshman with the Tigers, Ricks would find yourself garnering third staff AP All-American honors. He would even be part of the Tigers program for his sophomore season of 2021, till a again damage he suffered mid-season would power him to take a seat out the rest of that yr. This might be the final season for Ricks in Baton Rouge as he would switch to their arch rival, Alabama. To start with of the one and solely season for the Crimson Tide, he would battle nagging accidents however would find yourself taking part in in 10 video games with 5 begins. In 24 school video games between each colleges, he would tally 44 complete tackles and 5 interceptions.

The flexibility has all the time been there for Ricks, and whereas on the sector he confirmed elite playmaking potential. He’s very clear out of his backpedal which helps to result in extra alternatives to make interceptions. His instincts are at a excessive degree, particularly whereas taking part in the ball. Talking of taking part in the ball, his arms are very very similar to a large receivers and he will definitely catch extra passes that many corners will battle with. His on-field consciousness is top-notch as he does an amazing job studying the quarterbacks eyes and likewise is fairly adapt at understanding route ideas. Ricks performs each man and zone protection very properly.

At the same time as an elite prospect like Ricks is, his method can typically be sloppy. Being as bodily in protection as he’s, it could additionally result in drawing extra flags than you desire to. The method flaws at instances can actually present towards vertical huge receivers as he typically lags within the restoration division. One other layer to his recreation that wants work is simply getting extra reps in as he hasn’t performed in as many video games as chances are you’ll like from a high-level prospect that he’s.

There’s a lot to love about Eli Ricks, and the ceiling for him is kind of excessive. Having been tutored by legendary coach Nick Saban, even when for one season, isn’t a foul factor, particularly for the place that he performs. Coach Saban’s observe file with corners speaks for itself. As Ricks will get extra taking part in time together with these high quality reps, he’ll present how proficient he could be. If he can clear up some minor technical points in his recreation, then his profession within the NFL ought to be a high quality one.

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