If there was one position I thought the Cowboys would bypass in the 2013 NFL draft, it was cornerback. Not so. The ‘Boys grabbed William & Mary cornerback B.W. Webb in the fourth round, continuing their trend of overlooking “need” positions in favor of their board.
Scouting Report on B.W. Webb
Webb is a 5-10, 184-pound cornerback, so it’s unlikely that he’ll play on the outside. That means he’ll most likely strictly be a nickel back in the NFL, playing in the slot. He certainly has the skill set to thrive in there; he’s one of the quickest players in this draft.
When you watch tape of Webb, that suddenness stands out, and it’s confirmed in his measurables. He recorded a 4.46 40-yard dash, but more impressive were his 40.5-inch vertical, 11-0 broad jump and insane 3.84 short shuttle.
Actually, that short shuttle time was the fastest for any single player at the 2013 Scouting Combine. The vertical and broad jump both ranked him third.
Webb was a play-maker at William & Mary, picking off eight passes and returning two for touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. Webb also displayed big-time return ability, which is where he’ll be able to immediately make an impact.
Webb excels in man coverage. He won’t be able to consistently press—especially with his 30-inch arms—but he actually plays well from a press position where he can mirror receivers. He’s got some of the quickest feet in this draft.
Despite his small stature, Webb isn’t afraid to help out against the run. That’s a primary weakness for current nickel back Orlando Scandrick.
Small School, Big Game
The Cowboys have historically loved to take chances on small-school prospects in the middle and late rounds, especially those with elite measurables.
I love the strategy.
Once you make it out of the third round, the value of draft picks plummets. With most late-round picks failing to ever contribute anything meaningful, teams should try to hit home runs. Players like Webb have the sort of ceiling that makes them worth the investment later in the draft.
Fit in Dallas
Although I like the player, the pick is an intriguing one from Dallas.
The Cowboys have their starting cornerback duo of the future in Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Scandrick is in the midst of a $27 million deal, meaning Webb probably won’t initially get much playing time on defense.
It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys view Webb as a safety. It’s unlikely after the selection of Wilcox in the third, but Webb could add something in the back end. One of the reasons I suggest that is because Monte Kiffin has historically liked big, tall cornerbacks.
Meanwhile, the average safety for Kiffin during his reign in Tampa Bay was just 6-0. If Webb bulks up a bit, he’s a candidate to play free safety down the line. In that scenario, the ‘Boys would use versatile third-round choice J.J Wilcox as a strong safety.
2013 and Beyond
As mentioned, Webb will be able to make an impact as a return man in 2013. He’ll need to fight off wide receiver Dwayne Harris for that job, but I expect the rookie, who is far more explosive, to win out. Webb will play inside in the Cowboys’ dime package.
Beyond this season, I think Webb can eventually win the nickel job from Scandrick. He’s got the quickness to excel in the slot, and he has the potential to give Dallas one of the better cornerback trios in the NFL.
That’s under the assumption that the Cowboys won’t be changing Webb’s position.