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Kelvin Joseph could be impact rookie starter for the Dallas Cowboys

Jacob Noger | UK Athletics

Jacob Noger | UK Athletics

The Dallas Cowboys are fresh off a tough season under new head coach Mike McCarthy. Star quarterback Dak Prescott was lost in Week 5 to an ankle injury, and the team was disappointing in a very bad division. The Cowboys finished 6-10, but they had one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

To fix the issues, former Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was brought in to fix the defense, and the franchise planned to focus on this side of the football after spending some previous draft capital on offense. The proof is in the pudding after the first three rounds.

Dallas spent five top-100 picks on defensive selections and may have reached for the last three. Regardless, the franchise people call America’s Team is trying to fix their issues on defense as fast as possible. In the draft, the original plan was blown up pretty early.

The likely blueprint was to get cornerback early, but once Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II went off the board earlier than expected on Thursday night, those plans were scratched. In that first-round, Dallas traded back and picked up Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons at No. 12 but it was imperative to address cornerback in round two.

Insert Bossman Fat.

Kelvin Joseph is walking into a great situation. Last year, the Cowboys spent a second-round pick on Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs at No. 51 overall, and he went on to start 11 games recording 58 tackles and 3 interceptions while earning a decent 62.7 PFF grade. He could be a future piece to build around.

After that, there are major question marks. The Cowboys lost starter Chidobe Awuzie to free agency and Jourdan Lewis returns with just 48.1 PFF grade heading into his 5th year. However, the Michigan product is best suited to play inside at nickel. The only other cornerback is C.J. Goodwin who will be 31 next season and has just been in a very minor role in his last two seasons with Dallas.

Therefore, Joseph will be heading to the Big Star with major expectations. The second-round selection will enter the professional ranks with a great chance at earning a starting spot. There is a lot of pressure, but the Cowboys are desperate and Joseph’s skill set is tantalizing.

The Cowboys are loading up on defense in the 2021 NFL Draft. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

“I was at his workout in Kentucky,” McCarthy told the media on Friday night. “Have some people there at Kentucky that were very instrumental in giving us insight on his experience there at Kentucky. So, tremendous athlete. I think just his physical skills are something that just really stood out to us not only on film in his year there but in the workout that day.”

It is still unclear what kind of defense Quinn will run in Dallas, but in the past, the defensive coach has used plenty of Cover 3. Late in the third-round, the Cowboys surprised many when they took Oregon State cornerback Nahshon Wright despite most draft pundits having an undrafted grade on him. Despite being 6-4, Wright is considered a major long-term prospect but a specific Cover 3 cornerback.

After excelling in Kentucky’s multiple defenses that rolled to plenty of Cover 3 for Mark Stoops and Brad White, this could be a solid fit for Joseph. The cornerback will be called to play some press when the team sticks with Cover 1 to get a man coverage look but is also comfortable with dropping into a deep zone where his ball skills, closing speed, and overall athleticism can cover a bunch of holes in the deep third of the field.

At the end of the day, Joseph is a really good-looking cornerback prospect. This is a young player that can run, cover and tackle. The three general traits you are looking for at the position. Going to a scheme that will be similar to the one used in Lexington, Joseph could be heading into an easy transition where he will be depended on for snaps from day one.

The former high-profile transfer will have a chance to be an impact rookie starter for one of the biggest brands in the NFL. The draft broke right for Kelvin Joseph.

Article written by Adam Luckett

Twitter: @AdamLuckettKSR