Training Camp Battle: Cornerback

We continue our annual coverage of Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys by taking a closer look at some of the more intriguing position battles on the field. Today: cornerback, where a rookie will look to compete with Pete Hunter as the starter. Who does Bill Parcells like heading into training camp?


Pete Hunter, Bruce Thornton, and Jemeel Powell

The Position: Cornerback

The Players: Bruce Thornton (5-10, 197), Jemeel Powell (6-0, 186), Pete Hunter (6-2, 212)

Initial Thoughts: With the loss of Mario Edwards, the left cornerback spot is one of the few weaknesses of the Cowboys defense headed into training camp. Pete Hunter has caught the eye of Bill Parcells, but will it be enough to hold off the speedy Bruce Thornton for the starting spot in training camp? Whomever it is that ends up winning this battle, will face a tremendous amount of pressure through the early stages of the regular season.

Interesting Note (Thornton): Thornton was a running back during his first year at Georgia, but was moved to the secondary and started 34 of the next 38 games at cornerback. While he has speed to burn, there is concern about his size and durability. He's quick reacting to the throw and has a good break on the ball.

Interesting Note (Powell): Powell was signed by the Cowboys after being released by the Detroit Lions in September of 2003. He played in three games last year strictly as a special teams performer.

Interesting Note (Hunter): Hunter has made tremendous strides since being taken in the 5th round of the 2002 Draft. He's got excellent size, a decent amount of experience, and most importantly, the offseason endorsement of Bill Parcells. Last season, he recorded 19 tackles and 1 interception in being used mostly in the Cowboys' nickel package.

The Edge: Pete Hunter holds the lead here but only because he brings the most experience to the table. Parcells saw some things he liked last season, especially near the end of the year, but Thornton is more athletic and could pose as a serious threat for playing time. Jemeel Powell is a work in progress at this point.

Bill Parcells Says: "Pete Hunter improved a lot since last year. We have enough athletic ability at that (cornerback) position. We just have to get them playing. Pete's entering his third year now. Either he's going to get playing, or … the circus doesn't stay in town forever."

Quote to Note: "I finished up the year pretty hot, and I've trained really hard in the offseason, so I'll be ready," said Hunter. "There's a lot of talent in this secondary, and we're going to have a great year."


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