Cowboys Sign Former Alabama CB Who’s Been Compared to Josh Norman

Saivion Smith

Getty Saivion Smith

Saivion Smith is the newest member of — and third offseason addition to — the Dallas Cowboys‘ secondary.

The Cowboys on Friday announced the signing of Smith, a former Alabama cornerback who joins fellow Crimson Tide alumnus Amari Cooper and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the Lone Star State.

Terms of the likely one-year deal are not yet known.

A five-star recruit coming out of high school, Smith began his collegiate career at LSU, making 10 appearances as a freshman. Following a JuCo stint with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, he transferred to Alabama. Smith started 12 games in 2018, notching a team-high three interceptions, five pass breakups, and a defensive touchdown, afterward opting to forego his senior campaign and enter the NFL draft.

“Saivion has done a really nice job for us,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in January 2019. “I think that when he focuses on what he’s supposed to do and has good eye control and plays with discipline, he plays extremely well. That has improved throughout the course of the year and that has been very helpful in helping him become a very good player and a very productive player for us.”

Smith (6-1, 199, 33 1/4-inch arms) drew a fourth- to fifth-round grade from analyst Lance Zierlein, who likened him to ex-Panthers and Raiders CB Daryl Worley.

“He’s athletic enough for man coverage, but his collection of strengths and weaknesses requires better technique and aggression from press to gain control of the rep,” Zierlein wrote. “Smith’s ceiling is NFL starter and his floor should be fourth cornerback.”

An imposing defender, albeit average athlete, who thrives in man-press coverage and is a willing tackler, he drew a more favorable comparison from — former Redskins star and Cowboys nemesis Josh Norman.

Despite the lofty projections, Smith went undrafted in 2019 and was signed as a UDFA by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He made four exhibition appearances for the Jaguars but never saw a down of regular-season action.

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Fit with Cowboys

Depending on what they do via the upcoming draft, the Cowboys’ back end will be a sum of its parts. They replaced starting safety Jeff Heath, who departed to the Raiders, with Clinton-Dix and CB Byron Jones, who bolted to Miami, with free-agent pickup Maurice Canady and incumbents Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, and Chidobe Awuzie.

Smith, provided he earns a 53-man roster spot this summer, is another cog in the machine, a rotational option and probable special teams contributor for coordinators Mike Nolan and John Fassel, respectively.

Smith could find himself on the bubble, however, if the club brings in a blue-chip defensive back such as Florida CB CJ Henderson, LSU CB Kristian Fulton, LSU S Grant Delpit or Alabama S Xavier McKinney. They’ve already completed a virtual interview with Fulton and are expected to similarly “meet” Henderson prior to April 23.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL