Dallas Cowboys Mailbag
After struggling to cover receivers outside at cornerback last season, I read that Kelvin Joseph has been working as a nickel back in OTAs. What about his skill set could help him find successful there? Or is he destined to be a special teams ace?- Carl Harris/Omaha, NE
Patrik: His physicality could be what the Cowboys are hoping will allow him to be an impact nickel corner, but he's got his work cut out for him there as well, considering the emergence of DaRon Bland and the return of of Jourdan Lewis from injury. The team has also now seen what Israel Mukuamu can do as a flex nickel (see 2022 postseason for reference) and the addition of Stephon Gilmore effectively admits Joseph isn't the answer as CB2 opposite Trevon Diggs. His best chance to secure a roster spot this summer will be to clean up his special teams penalties, of which he had many (led the team in 2022) because, on that side of the ball, he was making a real impact when he wasn't drawing a flag. And if he can add some quality nickel reps as well to his toolbelt, all the better.
Nick Eatman: It's never been about skill set or talent with Joseph. When you think about how these players are evaluated and graded in the draft process, it's a pretty extensive. So all 32 teams are well aware of what Joseph can do both on and off the field. Even with some of the baggage he had coming into the draft, he still had enough talent to warrant a high second-round pick. All that being said, he's got the talent to play cornerback both inside and outside. He's got pretty good strength and enough catch-up speed to play the inside. But at this point, the Cowboys do have other options with DaRon Bland and even Jourdan Lewis when he returns. All I know is this, last year when the Cowboys were struggling to find anyone who could play corner, they were exhausting all options other than playing Joseph. So he's got to improve in a lot of ways for the Cowboys to play him on a consistent basis.