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Dallas Cowboys draft cornerback Kelvin Joseph with No. 44 pick in 2021 NFL Draft

The Dallas Cowboys selected Kentucky Wildcats cornerback Kelvin Joseph with the No. 44 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, addressing a huge need in the secondary.

Joseph, a Louisiana native, started his collegiate career at LSU and played in 12 games in his freshman season. Following a suspension, he entered the transfer portal twice and eventually enrolled at the University of Kentucky.

The 6-foot-1 cornerback enjoyed a breakout season in 2020 with the Wildcats. He recorded four interceptions, including a pick-six, and tacked on a pass deflection across nine games.

Read More: Dallas Cowboys draft Micah Parsons No. 12 in 2021 NFL Draft

Analysis of Dallas Cowboys drafting Kelvin Joseph

Dallas Cowboys
Kentucky defensive back Kelvin Joseph (1) intercepts a pass intended for Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) during a SEC conference football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Kentucky Wildcats held at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., on Saturday, October 17, 2020. Kns Ut Football Kentucky Bp

Entering the 2021 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys desperately needed help at cornerback. They hoped to land Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn at the No. 10 pick in Round 1, but both were off the board. After adding linebacker Micah Parsons to the front seven, Dallas lands a potential long-term starter on the outside.

Joseph checks plenty of boxes, in terms of the physical tools NFL teams look for in a cornerback. He stands at 6-foot-1 with great length and boasts excellent athleticism. He also plays with the swagger and tenacity that many great NFL defensive backs have and is often important for lasting at the position.

While there are plenty of pure traits for the Cowboys to like, Joseph is a project. He doesn’t have a ton of experience, plays recklessly and gets fooled far too often by quarterbacks and receivers. Pro Football Focus gave him an NFL comparison to Eli Apple. Cornerbacks typically have a steep learning curve when they arrive in the NFL and that will be especially true for Joseph.

The Dallas Cowboys are scheduled to make their next pick in Round 3, with the 75th selection. It will be their first of three picks in the third round, also holding the No. 84 and 99 overall picks.