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What the Dallas Cowboys can expect from Israel Mukuamu in 2022

The 2021 NFL Draft marked yet one more season in which the Cowboys responded to a various diploma of uncertainty at the security place by refusing to make a premium funding in it. They had already signed Jayron Kearse and Damontae Kazee to low-cost, short-term offers, and would later do the identical with Malik Hooker.

In the draft, Dallas had ample alternatives to pick a security with an early decide, however they waited till the finish of the sixth spherical to pick Israel Mukuamu. Coming out of South Carolina, Mukuamu was listed as a cornerback, though he performed a hybrid function that led the Cowboys to draft him with the intent of shifting him to security full-time.

It wasn’t lengthy after Mukuamu’s choice that individuals identified two robust connections that possible led to his drafting. First, Dallas very publicly performed plenty of scouting on Mukuamu’s faculty teammate, Jaycee Horn, which undoubtedly uncovered Cowboys scouts to Mukuamu. Second, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn as soon as labored with and has maintained shut ties with Mukuamu’s faculty head coach, Will Muschamp, and defensive coordinator, Travaris Robinson, thus giving Quinn some higher perception than others might need. While these elements helped Dallas goal Mukuamu, it didn’t stop him from taking a de facto redshirt yr in 2021. So what could possibly be in retailer for the transformed security in 2022?

What He’s Done

Mukuamu’s rookie yr was primarily spent on the sidelines, typically in avenue garments. He was inactive for 12 of the workforce’s 17 video games. He performed in simply 4 video games, with two of these video games being fully on particular groups. Mukuamu noticed very restricted defensive snaps in each video games towards the Eagles; he performed 4 snaps in the first blowout win over Philadelphia after which 16 snaps in the second blowout win.

Mukuamu didn’t register any field rating stats in these transient appearances, which is a testomony to how the Cowboys lastly loved stable security play between Kearse, Kazee, and Hooker. Simply put, there was no want for Mukuamu to play, and since he was a rookie studying a brand new place in a brand new protection, it made sense to sit down him as a lot as attainable.

What He Can Do

Both Kearse and Hooker have been re-signed after robust 2021 seasons, and are anticipated to take up the bulk of reps on protection. Kazee left in free company, however Donovan Wilson – who missed half the yr final season with accidents – figures to play a major function as properly. That limits Mukuamu as soon as once more, and sure places chilly water on any expectations or hopes of a breakout yr for him.

Not solely is Mukuamu unlikely to see a significant uptick in snaps, he’s bought extra competitors for the again finish of the roster this yr. Undrafted free brokers Markquese Bell and Juanyeh Thomas are two names that have been extremely touted at the time of their signing, as each have been anticipated to be drafted however fell to Dallas in free company. Fellow undrafted free agent Isaac Taylor-Stuart is listed as a nook however has the versatility to play security as properly, particularly if it means filling a particular groups function.

Mukuamu didn’t see the discipline sufficient final yr to show he can be counted on in particular groups simply but, in order that’s possible the place he’ll must show himself this yr. Of course, if accidents happen to any of the presumed starters forward of him, Mukuamu might get an opportunity to really see the discipline on protection.

If that occurs, it’ll be intriguing to see how he responds. Standing at 6’4”, Mukuamu has unimaginable measurement and size for the place and demonstrated spectacular ball expertise in faculty, with seven interceptions over three seasons. After successfully redshirting final yr, Mukuamu ought to have discovered the place and scheme by now, which units him up for a robust preseason efficiency as properly. He seems to have some crucial bodily instruments, but when Mukuamu can present that he discovered sufficient final yr it might go a good distance in the direction of solidifying his roster spot for this yr, in addition to his long-term outlook with the workforce.

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