Byron Jones to Dallas Cowboys: Full Draft-Pick Breakdown

John Owning@@johnowningCorrespondent IMay 1, 2015

Connecticut defensive back Byron Jones poses for photos with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Dallas Cowboys as the 27th pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft,  Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Most Cowboys fans probably know Connecticut's Byron Jones from his record-breaking 12'3" broad jump at the NFL Scouting Combine. To put it simply, Jones has freakish athleticism, and he put together one of the best performances at the combine—and at his pro day—out of any prospect in recent years. 

To see how freakishly athletic Jones is, take a look at this spider graph comparing him with each cornerback drafted since 1999, via Mockdraftable.com:


If you can't tell, that's really good. However, some skeptics may be worried that Jones is just another player who was overdrafted because of his workout numbers. Jones is not a workout warrior. He is truly a great football player first and a fantastic athlete second. 

Jones is an extremely intelligent player who understands how to diagnose and match complex route combinations. When he plays off, Jones is a spatially aware player who knows how to pattern-match and read through his progressions. 

When he plays up in man, Jones does a great job of getting his hands on the receiver and disrupting the stem of his route right off the line of scrimmage. What is really impressive about Jones is that he is extremely patient at the line of scrimmage and in his backpedal, which is where most young cornerbacks struggle most. 

Furthermore, Jones' freakish athleticism enhances his best traits and allows him to do things that not many other cornerbacks can do. 

On the rare occasion that he was beaten off the line of scrimmage in college, Jones' speed and foot quickness allowed him to quickly recover and get in perfect trail position on the receiver's back hip.

Moreover, Jones' explosiveness allows him to quickly get out of his backpedal and accelerate forward against comeback and hitch routes.

Another area where Jones' athleticism translates well is when he has to jump and contest passes at the catch point. Jones' vertical allows him to play "above the rim" and contest catches that most cornerbacks would never sniff at. 

Another great aspect of Jones' game is that he has the versatility and position flexibility to play safety, as he was a two-year starter at the position with Connecticut. If the Cowboys don't cut Brandon Carr, this could be a very realistic possibility, as it would finally give Dallas a safety who has the athleticism, intelligence and instincts to thrive in the deep middle.

In fact, Jason Garrett has already mentioned the possibility of Jones playing at free safety, per the Dallas Morning News' Rainer Sabin.

Even though a fantastic pass-rusher in Randy Gregory was still on the board, it was extremely difficult to pass up Jones, a player who fits this defense and checks all the boxes. 

The fact that the Cowboys had multiple players on their board with first-round grades at No. 27 was a fantastic problem to have. There was no wrong choice between Jones and Gregory, and the defensive back will step right in and make a huge impact for the Cowboys. 

There is always a learning curve for rookies entering the NFL, but luckily for Jones, he will go toe to toe with one of the best receivers in the game, Dez Bryant, every day in practice, which should be a huge help in getting him acclimated to the NFL. 

Jones was a fantastic pick, and he and the Cowboys will prosper for years to come because of it. 


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