Today we take a look at where the 2020 Dallas Cowboys stand at defensive back as we enter offseason workouts - and does a rookie lead the competition?
PLAYERS AT POSITION ENTERING FREE AGENCY (BASED ON DALLASCOWBOYS.COM): Cornerback: Byron Jones (starter), Chidobe Awuzie (starter), Deante Burton, C.J. Goodwin, Jourdan Lewis, Donovan Olumba, D.J. White (reserve/future), Anthony Brown, Chris Westry (IR). Safety: Jeff Heath (starter), Xavier Woods (starter), Darian Thompson, Donovan Wilson, Kavon Frazier (IR).
2020 COWBOYS FREE AGENTS: Heath, Jones, Thompson, Goodwin, Brown, Frazier.
COWBOYS LOST: Jones (signed a five-year contract with Miami), Heath (signed a two-year contract with Las Vegas), Frazier (signed with Miami), Olumba.
COWBOYS RETAINED: Brown (signed a three-year contract), Goodwin (signed a one-year contract), Thompson (signed a one-year contract).
COWBOYS GAINED: CB Maurice Canady (signed a one-year contract), S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (signed a one-year contract), CB Saivion Smith, CB Daryl Worley.
COWBOYS DRAFTED: CB Trevon Diggs (second round), CB Reggie Robinson II (fourth round).
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WHERE WE STAND: Allowing Jones to leave via free agency was the offseason’s biggest news, from a Cowboys standpoint. He was their best cornerback last season. He was reliable, which is something the Cowboys haven’t always had at the position. Heath, likewise, is a loss, but not an insurmountable one, given what the Cowboys have signed or developed behind him.
But losing two starters hurts, no matter how you look at it. The Cowboys were banking that they could add talent in the draft that could augment the losses, and the selection of Diggs and Robinson II may have done just that. Besides that, a mix of signing solid-performing veterans (like Clinton-Dix) and vets out to prove themselves (Canady and Worley among them), gives the Cowboys a chance to still put together a solid unit in 2020.
WHERE WE GO FROM HERE: This will be the most competitive position group in training camp, without question. Diggs and Robinson have the talent to play on opening day, and with the competition at the position — Awuzie, Brown and Lewis the most prominent of the group — don’t rule it out.
Diggs, to many, was a first-round value that fell to Dallas in the second round, so the intention has to be to use him right away. Those might be your five cornerbacks on opening day. But Worley is in play here, too, especially if Awuzie shifts over to play some safety.
At safety, Woods is a lead-pipe lock to start. Clinton-Dix is getting first crack at the other starter - Woods told us that in a Thursday conference call - but expect the Cowboys to invest some time in figuring out if the depth behind the pair can help.
And sure, we're going to let go of the Jamal Adams trade idea ... someday.
Safety is the one position where the Cowboys will keep their eyes on the waiver wire throughout the ramp-up to the regular season to see what teams release in an effort to bolster the position. ... and if Diggs is good enough at corner, maybe a vet corner already on the roster ends up providing the safety help.