After many long months expecting the Cowboys to draft one of the top cornerbacks in the draft with the 10th overall pick, Cowboys Nation and the Cowboys personnel themselves were shocked to see both Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain Jr. drafted ahead of the 10th overall pick. After getting blindsided with both corners off the board, the Cowboys decided to go the best player available route with Micah Parsons with some added value via a trade back. That left cornerback being the “blinking light” when the Cowboys were on the clock in the second round. Kentucky CB Kelvin Joseph ended up filling the Cowboys biggest positional need with the 44th overall pick.
Career Review: Kelvin Joseph, a four-star cornerback out of Louisiana, received offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, and many more, but Joseph elected to sign with his hometown team, LSU. Joseph was slated to be an important part of the Tigers defensive rotation early in his career. As a true freshman, he saw action in six games and had one pass defended. Joseph transferred to Kentucky after his true freshman year, forcing him to miss the 2019 due to NCAA transfer rules. As a redshirt sophomore, Joseph was the Wildcats CB1, starting nine games, collecting four interceptions, and breaking up one pass. Joseph’s career arch is a little bit of a roller-coaster ride due to the immaturity that forced him out of LSU, and inconsistent play at Kentucky, but the talent has been there since high school.
Scheme Fit: Like many cornerbacks in the 2021 draft class, Joseph is relatively scheme-flexible, but is going to fit in really well with Dan Quinn’s Cover-3 heavy scheme. Joseph excels playing with his eyes on the quarterback and that’s a lot of what he’ll be asked to due do in Dallas. Joseph’s ball skills, and press-man coverage skills shined as well at Kentucky, allowing him to play a variety of coverages in the secondary. There’s no hiding how much the Cowboys coaching staff and scouting department covet length in their cornerbacks, and Kelvin Joseph brings that aspect to the table as well with 67 percentile arm length. While there are some questions about Joseph’s consistency, it sure feels like he landed with a team who has a defensive coordinator that will help develop his skillset due to the scheme fit.
Summary: Expecting Kelvin Joseph to step in and be the next Richard Sherman would be rather silly, but Joseph is an extremely talented, yet raw cornerback with the ideal size, length, and athleticism for the boundary cornerback position in Dan Quinn’s defense. While Joseph will need to clean up his eye-discipline, continue to develop his man-coverage instincts, and learn to play with higher football IQ both from reading routes and not making the bonehead penalty after the snap, it’s not crazy to imagine Joseph turning into this teams most talented cornerback by the end of the season, if he stays totally locked in and engaged.
Projected Season Stats: Two interceptions, seven passes defended, 2.5 tackles for loss, 12 game started.