The Dallas Cowboys focused all of their 2014 seventh-round draft picks on their defense, the last selection being cornerback Terrance Mitchell.
Corner is a position that Dallas was wise to address in the seventh round, given a lack of depth at the position. The team's only options outside of Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick are B.W. Webb and Sterling Moore.
Using a late-round pick to add another option at this position was a smart move by the Cowboys, and they couldn't have done much better than Mitchell.
The Oregon product posted 59 tackles, seven pass breakups and five interceptions in his junior season. While he chose to leave school a year early, Mitchell had reason to believe he was ready for the NFL.
Sure a lot of people missed it, but the Cowboys just found a nice value in CB Terrance Mitchell at 254.— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurke_SI) May 10, 2014
Mitchell showed during his time as a Duck that he can change directions with ease and knows when to accelerate in coverage. He also has a nice frame for a cornerback at 5'11", 192 pounds.
As NFL.com's Nolan Nawrocki noted in his scouting report, however, Mitchell does have some drawbacks. For instance, his hands and arms are a bit small, which no amount of coaching can change.
What Dallas' coaching staff will have to do instead is teach their newest corner how to overcome this drawback. There's a lot to like about Mitchell, but he was available in the final round because he still has some learning to do.
The Cowboys are not going to plug Mitchell into a starting or nickel role because he still has plenty to learn. What he does provide, though, is needed depth and perhaps a little motivation for Claiborne, who posted a disappointing 2013 campaign.
CB Terrance Mitchell was a top-100 player for me. Zone CB w/ alert awareness and smooth movement skills. Great value by the #Cowboys here— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) May 10, 2014
Claiborne posted just 24 tackles in 10 games last season and ultimately saw his playing time diminished thanks to Scandrick. He has just two interceptions and a forced fumble in his career.
Since last season ended, some Cowboys writers, like ESPN Dallas' Calvin Watkins, have discussed possibly trading the former first-round pick. Head coach Jason Garrett told David Moore of The Dallas Morning News that he wants Claiborne to get stronger and grow more.
Mitchell doesn't have the promise of becoming what the Cowboys hope Claiborne will eventually become. He does have the possibility of becoming a serviceable No. 3 corner and adds immediate depth to the position. Perhaps Dallas taking Mitchell even lit a little fire within the former LSU Tiger.
Cornerback wasn't the defense's biggest position need in this draft, but it certainly should have been addressed. It would be foolish for Dallas to bank on Claiborne eventually working out and rolling with so few replacements if injuries occur.
With more coaching, Mitchell could eventually step up and become a reliable No. 3 corner. For now, he'll be a needed insurance policy for Claiborne, Carr and Scandrick.