The Cowboys are less than a week away from cut down day. On August 29, all NFL teams must trim their rosters down to 53 players. Each team must balance short-term goals with long-terms desires, making the decision-making process grueling for everyone – especially those with win-now expectations. Everyone loves potential in a player, but if potential can’t help win games now, can a contending team like the Cowboys afford to keep him?
Potential is something that’s allowed high-end draft selections to hang onto roster spots longer than their on-field contributions would otherwise justify. Elite athletic traits can’t be taught and the Cowboys are known to be extra patient with gifted players. It’s this behavior that’s likely allowed Kelvin Joseph to stay on as long as he has in Dallas.
Joseph, a former second-round pick (No. 44 in 2021), is one of the most physically gifted players on the Cowboys roster. The CB from Kentucky entered the NFL as a raw prospect who possessed extremely high upside. He also came with some off-the-field baggage which threatened to get in the way of his professional career.
Since joining Dallas, Joseph has had his share of issues, both on and off the field. There’s no question his issues have put his career in jeopardy and had him on the bubble when camp opened in Oxnard roughly one month ago.
Many fans have already thrown in the towel on Jospeh. The mere mention of him seems to elicit strong emotions, mostly of the negative variety. But despite what fan sentiment may be, Joseph is still in the mix at the cornerback position.
After struggling for two years outside, Jospeh has moved inside to handle nickel duties in 2023. It a role in which he’s quietly thrived and one that’s likely to save his career. Already a top special teams player, Joseph is proving to have immediate value to go with his long-term potential.
Kelvin Joseph finished with a game-high 2 forced incompletions, as he was targeted three times but only allowed one reception for 13 yards.
DAL is going to have some mighty tough decisions in the cut to 53, especially in the secondary
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) August 20, 2023
Trevon Diggs, Stephon Gilmore and DaRon Bland are locks but behind them things could fall a number of different ways. After a strong start to minicamps and training camp, rookie Eric Scott has plateaued. He’s performed poorly in preseason games and may not be the impact rookie Bland was in 2022.
Nahshon Wright has performed admirably, yet unspectacularly, so he’s on bubble. And Jourdan Lewis has yet to return from injury and is likely to start the season on PUP (won’t count toward the 53). It’s clear, the order after the top-three is far from settled.
If the Cowboys are expected to keep 5-6 CBs on the roster, Joseph appears to be on the inside of the bubble and may even be considered CB4 when Week 1 kicks off. Considering where Joseph ranked heading into training camp, his ascension up the ranks this past month is an impressive one.
There’s a strong possibility the Cowboys keep six CBs this season which means everyone discussed gets a job (until Lewis returns from PUP, of course), but even at five it’s hard to see Joseph not making the cut and that’s a testament to his progression this summer.
The Cowboys are a better team when Joseph is playing up to his potential so this revelation should be seen as a good thing for the team.
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