Last offseason, the Cowboys signed former Detroit Lion Bryant Westbrook, thinking that their needs at cornerback would be more than filled with a former pro-bowl performer.
Oh how wrong they were.
Westbrook was a complete flop and was released in the early part of the 2002 regular season after consistently being torched with the long ball.
Fortunately, Jerry Jones didn't put all of his eggs in one basket, and took a chance by selecting Ohio State cornerback Derek Ross in the third round.
Ross responded by emerging as a starter on the left side late last season and by all accounts, should be there for years to come.
With Ross anchoring down one spot at cornerback, Mario Edwards figures to try his hand one more time on the right side.
The former Florida State star didn't have a strong second season as a starter and could very well become the nickel corner next season if the Cowboys can find a suitable replacement in the draft.
That replacement could come from one of a number of quality corners this year and today, we take a look at Andre Woolfolk (6-0, 183, 4.51), a quality defensive back out of Oklahoma.
|Woolfolk registered 26 total tackles, including 4 for a loss, and 2 interceptions during his senior season at Oklahoma.|
"He's smooth in his hips, loses nothing in transition off the line of scrimmage and displays a nice move on the ball defending the pass," notes NFL draft expert Tony Pauline.
"He uses his large frame to box out opponents, times and anticipates his pass defenses well, displaying strength at the point of attack which helps him win out in battles."
As a junior, Woolfolk started his first four games at wide receiver and the first nine at cornerback, and then missed the final three regular season games due to injury.
As a third team All-Big 12 selection in 2001 at wide receiver, Woolfolk brought in 34 passes for 533 yards and 4 touchdowns on offense, and registered 19 tackles and 2 interceptions at cornerback.
Last season, he made the complete transition over to defense last year with 26 total tackles, including 4 for a loss, and 2 interceptions.
"He needs more experience as a defensive back as he's barely played two full seasons at the position coming into 2002, but he's a solid cover corner at the next level if he stays healthy," adds Pauline.
While Woolfolk has limited experience in the defensive backfield, he would be the perfect understudy to Ross and Edwards next year.
Furthermore, he should be available in the later half of the first round. Should the Cowboys decide to trade the first pick and acquire a few extra selections later in the first round, Woolfolk should be there for the taking.
His skills are similar to that of Kansas State corner Terrance Newman, with the only drop off coming with his run support. The only question remains is do the Cowboys think highly enough of Newman or Washington State cornerback Marcus Trufant to draft either player with their first round draft pick?
Probably not- at least not in the top 10. The Cowboys already spent a top 10 pick in the secondary last year with Roy Williams, and even though that proved to be a worthy selection, Bill Parcells has other needs to fill if he's going to use the #5 overall selection instead of trading it.
Hence, the Cowboys will likely draft a cornerback only in a situation where they can trade down. The good news is, pending on how far they drop, at least one player out of the Newman, Trufant, and Woolfolk trio should be available.