The roster turnover is about to begin. Free agency opens in less than one month and the 2017 NFL Draft isn’t far behind it. Over the next two months, the Cowboys will lose and replace a sizable portion of their roster.
For every new face, however, there are dozens of familiar ones who will return to begin a new campaign. From established veterans to second-year players, the vast majority of the Cowboys’ 2017 team is already on the roster. In the coming weeks, the staff of DallasCowboys.com will preview those players, analyzing where they’ve been and where they’re going.
Today we’ll continue the series with cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
What’s Been Good: Having just wrapped up his ninth season with the Cowboys, Scandrick continues to be one of the best slot cornerbacks in the NFL, as the independent scouting website Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 80.1, which ranked him among the league’s top 30 corners. Scandrick was the only player on the Cowboys to post both an interception (1) and a sack (2) in 2016, and he finished second on the club in forced fumbles (3) and third in passes defensed (9).
What’s Been Bad: Injuries have recently become a problem for Scandrick. After missing the entire 2015 campaign with a torn ACL, the 30-year-old veteran had to sit out four games early in this past year’s schedule with hamstring issues. Any leg troubles are a concern for a position that demands an element of speed.
2016 Highlight: Scandrick posted a season-high seven tackles in the brutal battle at Minnesota in Week 13 and posted sacks in Week 1 against the Giants and in a Week 8 win over Philadelphia. But perhaps where he really shined was in Week 15 against the Buccaneers. The Cowboys were clinging to a 26-20 lead and Tampa Bay had the ball with 1:36 remaining. On fourth-and-12 at their own 20-yard line, any hope the Bucs had of a comeback were squashed when Scandrick leaped in front a Jameis Winston pass to haul in his only interception of the year and secure the win. Scandrick also finished with a season-best three passes defensed in the game.
What’s Next: Entering the third year of his five-year deal, Scandrick is set to be paid $3 million in 2017, which given his play last season is about what you’d expect. With the Cowboys’ cornerback situation in a state of flux with both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne being unrestricted free agents, Scandrick may be needed more than ever to provide on-field production and off-field leadership. He’s just got to stay healthy. Read