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Breaking down the CBs: Dallas

5/3/2011

Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson breaks down the cornerbacks of each NFC East team. Today: Dallas Cowboys.

In a very curious move, the Cowboys only used a fifth-round pick to improve a cornerback situation that was a mess in 2010. Josh Thomas from Buffalo was that selection, but counting on him as any more than a fourth corner and special teams player would be unwise. Jerry Jones might have a plan to pursue one of the higher-priced free agent cornerbacks, but as it stands today, this remains a weakness for Dallas.

However, I tend to think that Mike Jenkins' excellent 2009 performance is more indicative of the type of player he is than 2010, when he was a liability in coverage and a pass-interference machine. But maybe that is just wishful thinking on my part.

Terence Newman, however, appears to be on the decline. In 2009 Jenkins and Newman went to the Pro Bowl, but they gave up a ton of big plays last season. There really isn’t any way around it but to say that Jenkins and Newman were well below-average starting cornerbacks in 2010. Yes, free safety was a huge problem for Dallas, but the pass-rush most certainly was not.

Orlando Scandrick has had some good moments since entering the league and could push Newman out of the starting job if Dallas fails to add a prominent free agent. He was the Cowboys' best corner last season. But ideally Scandrick would be the Cowboys’ slot corner; he is a good blitzer from that spot on the field.

There is still a ton of uncertainty about Dallas’ secondary as a whole. Expect the Cowboys to sign at least one starting defensive back in free agency, but they might really need two.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.