This was the experience for many Cowboys fans and frankly many other football fans who happened to see the draft at the time Dallas drafted Nahshon Wright. Not too many people were familiar with the guy who dominated junior college in 2018 before performing two solid, but largely unnoticed, seasons in Oregon State; those familiar with Wright’s play certainly did not believe he was a top-100 customer. Well, except for one person.
The people who call Nahshon Wright the greatest reach in the draft will look very stupid in a few years.
He has a sky-high potential in this DQ defense. Perfect landing place – would not surprise me if he starts full time in 2022.
– Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) May 1, 2021
It’s very early, but Jonah Tuls off The draft network looks like he got it (ahem) Wright. First it was the rookie minicamp, where the strangely framed cornerback – Wright stands at 6’4 “and only 185 pounds – first started turning heads. But now Wright is facing more than just other rookies in OTA, and he still looks good.
What’s interesting is that I’ve had a chance to see 3 exercises, and Nahshon Wright CB has not had a bad day yet. I think these DL will help too. https://t.co/cpTq2MMaaF
– BryanBroaddus (@BryanBroaddus) June 5, 2021
Nor should it be much of a surprise. As Tuls said when Wright was first drafted, he is an ideal fit in the kind of scheme that new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is installing. In the scheme where Cover 1 and Cover 3 shells are played the most, Quinn looks for large, long corners that can fly all over the court and make bets on the ball.
That describes Wright pretty much as a tee. His height is rare for NFL corners, and his 78 ”wing catcher ranks in the 91st percentile of all corners in this pull class. While Wright’s unofficial 4.46 40-yard dash on his Pro Day did not set the world on fire, it is almost identical to Trevon Diggs’ 40 times a year ago. More than that, Wright’s impressive wide jump showed his forward explosion, which is useful when it comes to breaking the ball, and his five interceptions in two years with the Beavers highlighted his skills in making games.
The Cowboys clearly liked these moves and that was why they felt good about picking him where they did, even with other more prestigious cornerback prospects still on the board. The fact that he has so far looked good enough for Bryan Broaddus to appoint him only justifies the claim that Wright is in the perfect place for him to succeed.
But can he see the field in 2021? Odds are that Wright will at least act on special teams, but the prospect of him getting meaningful snaps on defense or even starting should not be ruled out yet.
Kelvin Joseph was taken in the second round after the Cowboys missed Jaycee Horn and Patrick Surtain II in the first round, and many assumed that Joseph would slip in as the outside corner to Diggs. But Joseph has so far missed a significant amount of practice time in quarantine, and when he was on the field he did not turn his head, as Wright has been. That’s part of the reason Anthony Brown, the team’s top cornerback for the last couple of years, has taken first team representatives on the outside instead of Joseph.
Now that he has returned to practice, Joseph has something to catch up on. The reality is that we are still very early in the process and there is plenty of time for Joseph to meet these expectations of cracking the starting lineup. It is also possible that the experienced Brown keeps it outside the starting point. But Wright is clearly considered a lot by this coaching staff right now, and if he keeps turning heads through training camp, it might not matter what Joseph does from here on out.