Questions have surrounded Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright ever since they were taken in the second and third rounds, respectively, in the NFL Draft two weeks ago.
The Cowboys had a huge need at cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs following the loss of Chido Awuzie in free agency.
They hoped to take either Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn with the 10th overall pick. But both were taken, forcing the Cowboys to fall back to select linebacker Micah Parsons at No. 12 after a trade back.
The situation made the need at cornerback even more acute, but the Cowboys answers of Joseph out Kentucky and Wright out of Oregon State raised eyebrows.
For Joseph, there are concerns about his commitment to game given his budding career as a rapper and hip hop artist.
For Wright, it was about him being picked higher than most experts predicted and then boasting about being better than future Hall of Famer Richard Sherman.
As far as the early impressions from rookie mini camp goes, both players were noticeable in their ability to make plays and shoot down narratives.
No rapping for Joseph now
Joseph, who performs under the stage name “YKDV Bossman Fat” and has eight albums and a handful of singles available on streaming platforms, made it clear that football is his first and only priority right now.
“I just know the difference between my hobbies and my profession,” he said. “Football is going to get me paid and it’s going to change my family’s life. Making music is just like a hobby. There will be some music coming one day, but right now it’s just strictly business.”
His words were likely music to the ears of Cowboys’ fans, coaches and staff as his talent and potential to be the team’s starter at cornerback are undeniable.
He said he is ready to seize the opportunity.
“The transition is fast. It’s like overnight,” Joseph said. “It can come fast so you just got to be ready to work and you got to be willing to go that extra mile for yourself and your team and your family.”
Wright clarifies Richard Sherman boast
Any concerns about Wright’s ability to make plays were answered in Saturday’s practice when his aggressive style was on full display.
He had a nice pass deflection and a diving interception. His only mistake was not getting up and running after the pick, something that is illegal in college but allowed in the NFL.
“My guy broke, I broke, ball came out and I was just able to make a play on the ball,” Wright said. “I dove for it. Not used to having to get back up and run but now that I’m here I’ve got to learn to kind of get back up and go.”
Wright actually proved his prowess as a fast learner after the draft when his boastful declaration of being more athletic and agile than Sherman, a five-time Pro Bowl players, went viral on social media.
It caught the attention of Sherman as well as other draft pundits.
Wright quickly tried to make amends, contacting him via direct message on Instagram to explain.
“I actually reached out to him cause after I said it, I saw what people perceived it as,” Wright said. “I wanted to reach out to him personally and kind of clear it up and just tell him that I actually modeled myself after him. I emulate my game after him.”
The comparisons with Sherman were natural. At 6-foot-4, Wright has the prototypical height and length that Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn prefers at cornerback. Earlier in his career, Quinn built the dominant Seattle Seahawks’ defensive units that went to back-to-back Super Bowls in 2013 and 2014. And the 6-foot-3 Sherman starred on the outside.
Wright went too far with his brash statement, but he has rectified the situation and has since gained an ally in Sherman.
“For me, I think it was just genuine confidence in myself and looking up to someone like that,” Wright said. “He played under Dan Quinn. So now I have the opportunity to play under him and hopefully do the same things that Richard Sherman did.
“We spoke. And we have a mutual respect. And he told me if I ever needed help I can reach to him. Richard is a great guy.”