Reel Talk: Is Byron Jones The Cowboys Best Defensive Player?

Unlike 2016, the Dallas Cowboys were forced to pick late in the first round of the 2015 Draft following a 12-4 season. However, just as they did in 2016, the Cowboys made the absolute most out of their first round pick in 2015.

By selecting UCONN defensive back Byron Jones, the Cowboys knew they were getting an athletic monster. After his impressive day at the NFL Combine, Jones grabbed the attention of fans and draft pundits all over the football world.

What those people didn’t know, however, was how good of a football player that athletic defensive back was.

Jones has been a rock for the Cowboys secondary over the last season and a half. Last week in Pittsburgh, Jones continued to impress by playing possibly his best game yet. Byron Jones made plays all night, but there were three plays which stood out the most from his performance.

The first time Big Ben and the Steelers tried Byron Jones would be one of their last. On their first two-point conversation attempt, Roethlisberger tries to throw a fade over Jones’ head. To create some confusion in the defense, the Steelers cross the two targets at the bottom of the screen, before throwing the fade to the same side.

Byron does an excellent job in coverage here, staying right on his man and not allowing him any room to breathe. Then, once he realizes the ball is away, Jones goes up and breaks up the pass to save the Cowboys a point. Textbook pass defense from Byron Jones.

On the Steelers next trip to the red zone, they decide to let Le’veon Bell run it in for a touchdown. Byron Jones has different plans though, coming hard off the edge and stopping Bell for a two yard loss.

In designing this play, the Steelers figure if they can get the front 7 blocked, and get Bell one on one with the safety, they should have an easy score. Instead, Byron does a fantastic job of setting a hard edge, and now allowing Bell to get by him. This is just an incredible tackle by Bryon Jones to once again save the Cowboys points.

Last but not least, Byron Jones makes a subtlety great play to force Antonio Brown out of bounds.

It looks like Pittsburgh had a run play called here, based off of the low-hats of the offensive linemen. Ben has the option to throw the quick screen out to Antonio Brown if he likes the match-up, however.

Seeing Brown one on one with Brandon Carr, Ben decides to give his All-Pro receiver a chance to make a play. At the top of the screen, Byron Jones reads and diagnoses the quick pass perfectly, and makes up about 15 yards of ground, getting downhill quickly and making the tackle.

Sure, it would’ve been nice to see Carr make the tackle for loss here, but the fact the Jones could get downhill and stop that receiver at the line of scrimmage is insane.

So far in his career, the interception numbers haven’t been there. This lack of interceptions gets perceived as a lack of big plays from Jones, which hurts his public perception among fans.

But Byron Jones is arguably the single most consistent player on the Cowboys entire defense. Week in and week out he plays incredibly, consistently being right in his coverage and making sure tackles. Hopefully, more fans around the league will realize just how good Byron Jones is.