Possibly the biggest head-scratching move in the offseason for the Cowboys was the acquirement of CB Nolan Carroll. Coming off a season in which he allowed a passer rating of 100.00 across 89 targets, it made no sense for the Cowboys after they just let 3 starting DBs walk to other teams. After signing him to a $4 million dollar contract, he would follow suit after just 5 games into the season due to poor play and a concussion injury that left him no value at all for the Cowboys.
With a core that is stocked full of young, versatile talent, the Dallas DBs are an interesting group that could possibly be the best part of the defense in the future. Byron Jones is slowly silencing the critics, Lewis is finding early success into his career like Anthony Brown did, and Woods is looking good enough that he’s causing many to call for him to take Heath’s job. Although a hamstring problem is hindering Awuzie’s time on the field and growth, he has done well in the time he has seen action, and for Scandrick, the narrative sadly just keeps repeating itself. Now with Carroll cut from the team, Dallas has an opening that could go in two opposite directions.
A fourth-year veteran out of San Jose State, Bené Benwikere’s career has been sort of a rollercoaster. Beginning as a slot CB for the Panthers, he would start in 10 of his first 23 appearances and finish with 92 combined tackles, a sack, and an interception. What seemed like a promising player in the making, the trade of Josh Norman would call for a bigger role out of Benwikere, pushing him to be the number one CB for Carolina.
From there, a 300 yard game by Julio in 2016 against the Panthers would be the breaking point to a disappointing season for Bené, and would find himself jumping around to several teams thereafter. He is a decent sized DB who can play the ball well but struggles matching up with receivers over the top. Being more effective in the passing game as well, and fitting the nickel CB position, Benwikere might have a more fitting role in Dallas than he has on previous teams. Scandrick is steadily removing himself from Dallas come next offseason, due to looming injuries, and stats such as these:
#Cowboys CB Orlando Scandrick averages an interception for every 647 snaps in his 10-year NFL career.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 15, 2017
Plus with Awuzie, although he can play outside and inside, his availability is a question mark, therefore maybe Bené returns to the slot position? Or, as Marinelli has come to the liking of, only rushing 3 and dropping 6 into coverage at points. He could also become the fourth dime DB.
As soon as news broke of the release of Carroll, the final DB to be drafted by the Cowboys in 2017 tweeted:
Let me ouuuutttt!!!!
— Marquez White (@_thequilt) October 11, 2017
Selected in the 6th round out of Florida State, White has been noted to be a developing corner who can find a role on a team. As the measurables size him up to be a long corner with a 32 1/8” arm length and 10” hands, his testing did not match up to the player people thought he was on the field at FSU. Known to be able to play press really well and challenge WRs on 50/50 balls with his vertical, scouts have noticed that he can become stiff in his technique. As well as being a two-year starter for the Seminoles, the lack of production regarding INTs/PBUs bring his ball skills into question and he missed on 27.7% of solo tackles over the course of three seasons.
What seems like a negative on White, he plays a very coachable game. His technique can be fixed, and how a player takes angles on someone as well. He might have had only 4 INTs, but he did not allow more than 2 TDs and an NFL passer rating higher than a 62.3. Marquez is a quick corner, who plays a safe game and works whoever is across him. As much as Dallas has hit on their young talent in recent years, could White add to the hype created by Lewis/Woods in the rookie DB group? Marc Dulgerian of NFL.com believes Marquez’s fit in the league is, yes you guessed it, Rod Marinelli’s defense.
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