When the Cowboys drafted Nahshon Wright with pick No. 99 in the 2021 NFL Draft, Cowboys fans erupted in displeasure. A bona fide “reach” to the draft community, Wright was tabbed by many as the worst pick in the draft class.
Kelvin Joseph didn’t command such universal disdain when he was selected 55 picks earlier. Joseph, who did have red flags, was still regarded as one of the best raw cornerback prospects in the draft who had legit “boom” potential. All anyone could see in Wright’s future was “bust.” My, how things can change.
Nearly two years into each of their respective professional careers, the draft classmates are on opposite trajectories; Wright moving into a starting role and Joseph on the cusp of losing his game-day active status altogether.
At what point to the Cowboys just pull Kelvin Joseph from the field completely? His propensity to get flagged is now a trend and the Cowboys can ill-afford something like this madness at playoff time. #DC4L #DallasCowboys pic.twitter.com/lmQnA7PUvm
— Reid D Hanson (@ReidDHanson) December 30, 2022
After a tumultuous offseason and wildly inconsistent training camp, Joseph began the season as a special teams player and developmental prospect. When injuries to Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown forced him into the defensive starting lineup, Joseph disappointed.
After allowing 219 yards, four touchdowns, a 66.7 completion percentage and 147.9 passer rating, Joseph was benched, making way for the once-maligned Wright.
Wright has been far from flawless, but he’s taking steps towards competence and even recorded the first interception of his career. Wright has shown awareness on the field and a willingness to step up against the run.
Trevon Diggs said Cowboys sideline was “really electric” after Nahshon Wright's first career INT.
— Jori Epstein (@JoriEpstein) December 30, 2022
Wright may not be the forever-solution at CB2 but he’s the best solution the Cowboys have at the moment and likely the best man for the job as Dallas marches to the playoffs.
Joseph, on the other hand, has become such a liability he may be too dangerous to even play on special teams. The postseason, just two weeks away, is a time when margins are slim and every error has the potential to tip the balance.
The story is far from over for these two young cornerbacks and anything can happen going forward, but right now they are on opposite trajectories and it’s playing out far differently than most once imagined.