Postcards from Mobile: Cornerbacks for the Cowboys

Janoris Jenkins

The latest edition of the post-Senior Bowl chat with the National Football Post’s Wes Bunting covers the cornerbacks in Mobile. 

Cowboys Nation:  Let’s move to cornerback.  Janoris Jenkins played really well this week.  Where does this move him now?  When you debuted your draft board in November, he was the top senior corner,  based solely on play.  But it’s no secret, this guy has some major off-field questions to answer.

I have to think the juniors Claiborne and Kirkpatrick will go 1-2 at this position, but has Janoris Jenkins played himself back into the 3rd spot?

Wes Bunting:  Yeah.   He was just so tough to separate from all week.  But he’s part of this evaluation struggle for me.  I like these smaller, quicker corner types who can stick with you, but there were a number of times where he’s position to make a play and [Jeff] Fuller, who couldn’t separate from anyone all week, doesn’t have any space on Jenkins, but he’s able to go up and make a play on the football.  Granted he dropped it all week, but if he’s catching the ball, you wonder how great a top end Jenkins will have as an NFL corner?

Now, Jenkins made a lot of plays.  He’s a first round talent, no question.  It’s just tough to take a corner who’s 5’9” and change overly high, when there are all these tall receivers, but from a coverage standpoint?  From a separation standpoint?  This guy was a plus.

CN:  Where does Jenkins sit now in the first?  Give me your assessment and any others that you heard in Mobile.  He’s obviously a first rounder, but how high can he rise after this week?

WB:  I would say, 15 to 25.  Somewhere in there.

CN:  I saw a big mock today with him going 14 to Dallas.

WB:  That’s fair, because the one thing I heard from Dallas people is that they were focusing on DBs, first and foremost…

CN:  Let’s go the next set of guys. Stephon Gilmore is an underclassman, so he wasn’t there, but it sounds like the next group of guys played well, the Casey Heywards, the Jamell Flemings, the Brandon Boykins.

WB:  Yeah, those three were the best of the bunch, of that second tier.  Fleming I thought was solid in his drops.  I thought he was the worst of those three, but he had a solid week.  Heyward was a bit limited when they asked him to play a ton of press, because he’s not overly quick.  But as a cover-2 who can track the football, he was clean in and out of his breaks.  Plus he can turn and run a bit.  I thought he was very good.

And Boykin?  If Jenkins was number one, Boykin was a close number two.  He was physical.  He was strong in press, and he did a better job as the week went on collecting himself and staying low out of his breaks, which allowed him to close faster.  I thought he had a very good week as well.

CN:  I heard Josh Norman was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, after his big Shrine game week, but he didn’t arrive until Thursday.  Did you get a chance to watch him practice?

WB:  No.  We left on Thursday, and that day’s workouts were indoors, with no pads, because of the tornadoes down there.  The first day you’ll see him is in the game.

CN:  Can you give us any other corners from the practices who caught your attention, either good or bad?

WB:  Dwight Bentley, from Louisiana-Lafayette, was a tough little son-of-a-gun to separate from.  He wasn’t overly tough on game tape, but he was physical this week.  He’s 5’11”, 176, so he’s this skinny kid, but he can turn and run.  He can cover.  He’s balanced.  He wasn’t intimidated by those big receivers.  I had a priority free agent to late-round-pick grade on him coming in.  I thought he was better than guys who I had given better grades, so I’m going to move Bentley up.

CN:  That’s good to know.  Since corner is such a priority I think the Cowboys may take at least two, maybe three, the way they drafted offensive linemen last year, one early, one middle, one late.  We need names to track in those later rounds.

Next:  Nose tackles and mid-round D-linemen and linebackers. 

Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Senior Analyst Cowboys at Sports Talk Line
Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for
Rafael Vela

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  • jrcowboy49

    The playoffs
    this year has taught us some important changes. Offensive is more important
    than defense. Look at the Packers and Patriots. Large TE and WR are key so why
    should we be drafting 5’10” DB’s? Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama or Stephon
    Gilmore CB from South Carolina who is 6’1″ is a strong candidate. Our
    focus should be on larger DB’s. Barron is 6′ 2″. Speed is essential. Look
    what Sproles did for the Saints. Dallas should look at LaMichael James RB from
    Oregon to provide that kind of spark.


  • Mark Caley

    #14 pick should be as close to bulletproof as is possible. No Jenkins at #14 please. Maybe 3rd or 4th round as risk/reward pick but unlikely to fall that far.

  • Phillip

    I thought Janoris Jenkins did some good things at the Senior Bowl and practices, however, I also saw a guy that continually got caught trying to jump routes and double moves.

  • Raja

    Wes’s Mock 2.0 is up on NFP. I am a little discouraged that he has us taking Konz with Coples, DeCastro gone. My pet cat Ingram is going in the late 20s.

    I think 14 is a little high for Konz and if we get a Myers or Wells in FA, I wouldn’t mind a trade back and get an extra 3rd or 4th.

    How good of a G is Konz if we get a C in FA?

    • Chris

      Konz is a reach at 14. I’d trade down to the low 20’s in that scenario and draft Cordy Glenn or Konz and pick up an extra 2nd or 3rd round pick if possible.

      • Agree with this. Understand the “need” for Center, but I just want bigger blue-chipper bang for your buck at 14 (i.e., would love DeCastro if he were available–more and more I’m thinking he won’t be).

        I think a trade down would probably be the smart thing to do in that situation (but not too far). Hopefully, though, we can sign a real quality Center in FA and we won’t need to even think about drafting one that high!

  • Timwebbsite

    Please no to Jenkins in the first round.  I’m a little worried at who will actually be available at #14 come draft day.  This may be a good year to trade down and get another 2/3 or both.  I’m usually against that, but if the top CB’s, OL and DL are gone, then drop and gain value while adding more options with the extra picks.  That may be the way to draft Burfict if they like him, and use numbers to back him up in case he takes the Ray Lewis route and stabs someone at a Super Bowl party.

    If no trade down then hopefully DeCastro, Coples or Brockers will be there, and we can keep drafting the defense.  From the 2nd round on, especially if we end up with DeCastro in the first, should be:

    Fleming, Irvin, Curry and Wolf or
    Gilmore, Judie, Cam Johnson and Brandon Taylor or
    Hayward, McClellin, Winn and Norman or
    Poe, Minnifield, Chandler Jones and Audie Cole

    We need to grab 2 CB’s, 2 pass rushers at either OLB or DL, and then a safety and backup ILB would be nice.  The more I look at this draft, the more I like what I see in the middle rounds.  We need to clean up at those picks to finally get some damn competition and depth.  Keep these mother lovers hungry and working to earn their pay day down the line.

  • cowboyny

    It sure looks like the CB position is three rds deep, looking at our 14th position it appears there will be better value at another position, but our second rd pick should a plenty of CB options to chose from. Personally, I would like to see the team draft an outside CB with good size and draft more of a inside, slot CB as well. Safety as high as the 3rd rd would be a wise investment, especially a true FS. The team basically has a bunch of SS types, but nothing behind Sensabaugh as a FS. Who was the backup FS last season? Church (more of a SS)? Ball, God help us! Need to at least improve depth at the postion.

  • daboyz

    If Jenkins is there in the 2nd i would take him, if not maybe take Boykin. I would definitly draft curry in the 3rd if he was there..
    Raf, what would it take to get back into the third. We should be getting an extra pick for losing Bowen last year. compensatory pick. 

  • desus32

    I’d still rather take a pressure player to compliment Ware or go the safe route and take DeCastro. I understand stockpiling talent at a position, but if CB is as deep as many pundits state, there should be value in the 2nd and 3rd rounds w/o committing to Jenkins – a guy that could still have some issues while also not having everyone convinced he’s a can’t miss player.

  • Unless they are trading down, Jenkins is a reach at 14.  There should be a CB in round 2 that’s a good value.  

  • fiverings37

    no short corners please

  • San

    Here is my concern: with the 14th pick, is Jenkins the bpa?  Probably not.  If he’s not, do not get him over someone better.

    • greatwhitenorth

      Here’s my concern:  Jerry Jones does not think like you do.  If he likes a guy, he drafts him regardless of what other talent has slid down on draft day (see Felix over Mendenhall).  He often does try to move around to get into a good value position to draft his guy, but he shoots himself in the foot by letting everyone else know who he’s targeting ahead of time.  If Jerry likes Jenkins, and I think he does, he’ll be the 14th pick.

      • Cash

        Felix was a Garrett pick. Jones picked the guy Red wanted.

        • Cash

          …then went after the highest guy rated on their board which was Jenkins. Besides I’d be more pissed about missing out on Chris Johnson than Mendenhall.

  • AustonianAggie

    Taking three Corner Backs this draft sounds like a good plan, and going early, middle late is a strong step forward from that terrible year they drafted corners 2,3 and 4 — and didn’t have a 1st round pick