Cowboys Likely to Make Stunning Starting Move on Defense: Report

Anthony Brown

Getty Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown would be an intriguing option for the Eagles.

Perhaps in the long term, second-round rookie Kelvin Joseph and third-rounder Nahshon Wright will lock down starting cornerback spots among the Dallas Cowboys secondary.

But in the short term, neither will unseat the veteran incumbent entrenched above them on the 2021 depth chart — Anthony Brown, the “favorite to start opposite Trevon Diggs” in the Sept. 9 regular-season opener at Tampa Bay, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.

“Cowboys CB Kelvin Joseph was absent from field. Reason unclear, but the second-round pick could use all the reps he can take. Had a 15-game college career between two schools. Plenty of time still. But Anthony Brown the favorite to start opposite Trevon Diggs on Sept. 9 vs. Bucs,” Gehlken reported Thursday.

Gehlken later reported that Joseph was sidelined from Thursday’s Organized Team Activity practice due to a minor illness, which did not affect his impressive standing with Cowboys coaches.

“Kelvin’s off to a good start with us,” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said.

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Refresher on Brown

The forgotten man in Dallas’ back end, Brown is entering his sixth season with the organization, his age-27 campaign. The 2016 sixth-round pick made 10 appearances in 2020, including eight starts, and logged 39 combined tackles, three pass deflections, and two interceptions across 534 defensive snaps.

Altogether, Brown has played in 66 games (41 starts) for the Cowboys, totaling 211 combined tackles, 35 PDs, six INTs, and three forced fumbles. The Purdue product signed a three-year, $15.5 million extension in March 2020. He’s due $4.25 million in 2021 base salary and counts $5.75 million against the salary cap.

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Wright ‘Turning Heads’

The Cowboys are plenty high on Diggs, their perennial CB1 of the future. They still have Brown and fellow vet Jourdan Lewis. They invested the aforementioned second-round choice in Joseph. But it’s Wright who’s stood out among the rest — literally and figuratively.

In a June 4 piece for the Cowboys’ official website, team analyst Hek’ma Harrison explained why Wright “shouldn’t have been taken at pick No. 99,” based on the recent tape from OTAs.

“He should have been taken sooner! I’m just preparing you for what football analysts will say this fall,” Harrison wrote. “The 6’4 rookie cornerback has made plays during minicamp. He has caught my attention in every practice I’ve witnessed, good or bad. Here’s the bad: during his first rookie minicamp in individual drills Wright seemed uncomfortable with basic DB drills. I’m positive it was just his nerves because since rookie camp Wright has shined. Here’s the good: Wright has an excellent jam at the line of scrimmage in press coverage (Isaiah Stanback from our show, Talkin’ Cowboys, gave him the nickname E. Honda). He uses his long frame well to blanket receivers in man coverage and sit on routes in zone coverage.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL