COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 01: B.W. Webb #2 of the William & Mary Tribe runs the ball against the Maryland Terrapins at Byrd Stadium on September 1, 2012 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
When the Cowboys selected William & Mary cornerback B.W. Webb in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, it was a clear “best player available” choice. I’m fine with that mindset later in the draft when the cost of each pick is minimal, but Webb obviously plays a position of depth for Dallas, so his 2013 impact could be limited to dime packages and special teams.
Webb is a small cornerback at 5-10, 184 pounds. Tall, muscular cornerbacks have become in vogue in today’s NFL with the rise of zone coverages to combat physical wide receivers. It’s not impossible for Webb to play outside by any means, but his more natural position, at least at first, seems like it would come in the slot.
Webb’s skill set is also suited for playing inside. He recorded a 3.84 short shuttle—the fastest for any player at any position at the 2013 Scouting Combine. He’s incredibly quick, and that trait will obviously be vital in the slot. Webb’s 4.51 40-yard dash time is average, but he showed explosiveness with a 40.5-inch vertical and 11-0 broad jump—both the third-highest marks at the Combine for any player.
On tape, you can see that Webb played almost solely zone coverage in college. He’ll be playing a whole lot more man coverage as a slot cornerback in Dallas, even in Monte Kiffin’s scheme, and there just isn’t a whole lot of film out there on Webb moving in man coverage. I have no doubt that he can do it, but he’ll need to work on his technique.
Webb is a play-maker on the outside—he had eight interceptions as a freshman—and a very willing tackler. Actually, he’s such a good tackler that I really believe he could potentially play safety for Dallas. Kiffin’s safeties don’t need to be big, and I think Webb is a good enough tackler to man the position. He’d play free safety for the Cowboys; I’m not sure if the coaches have discussed the option, but it makes sense.
What I Like
I really like Webb’s overall game; I didn’t study him leading up to the draft, but there are all kinds of things to like. In addition to his defensive play, Webb is also a really good return man. He’ll come in and probably win both the kick and punt return jobs from Dwayne Harris.
What I Don’t Like
It’s a shame that Webb isn’t two inches taller. At that height and with longer arms, you could easily be looking at a second round pick.
Grade: Second Round
I like Webb enough that I’d probably grade him ahead of each of the Cowboys’ first three selections in Travis Frederick, Gavin Escobar, and Terrance Williams. That might say more about the team’s early-round picks than anything, but the ‘Boys got good value on a high-upside player with Webb.
Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.