The Cowboys have a talented cornerback room with Trevon Diggs, Kelvin Joseph, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. Having said all that, in today’s NFL where quarterbacks sling the ball around like never before, cornerbacks are essential when building a roster.

Dallas waited until the fifth round to take DaRon Bland out of Fresno State. He’s not the flashiest name at the position and needs to improve in several areas as special teams may be his route to playing time for now. However, Bland brings with him a skill set that Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn likes to tinker with.

Speed

Nothing strikes fear into a defense like an offense with a player(s) that can take it to the house due to exceptional speed. Bland is no slouch in that area as he ran 4.46 in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. This is nothing new for Bland as he ran a 10.73 in the 100 meters in 2019.

Bland uses his speed to stay in stride with speedy receivers down the field as a long strider. If he does get beat on a play he uses good recovery speed to make up for errors. Once Bland fine-tunes other parts of his game his speed will be the icing on the cake.

Length

Bland stands six feet tall which gives him the ideal height for what Quinn wants in a cornerback. He has length as well with 32-inch arms. This makes it tough for receivers even if they get a step on him because he can still make plays on the ball with his arm length.

The fifth-rounder recorded a 35.5-inch vertical jump at his Pro Day. Added to his long arms, Bland can be effective on contested catches against receivers with more size. Bland used this part of his game to register 23 passes defended and five interceptions in college.

Physicality

Bland built a reputation for being a physical player during his collegiate days against the pass. Corners that are physical with receivers can disrupt how smooth and fluid their routes are and not allow them to separate.

Quarterbacks have to be quick with their decision-making, especially on the pro level. So, Bland is the type of corner that can make timing a problem between a quarterback and receiver. Against the run, Bland will come up and lay the lumber, and he isn’t afraid to go through blockers to do so.

Along with these positive traits to build on, Bland had a special motivation to make a name for himself with the Cowboys. His uncle, who passed away last September, is who he’ll be playing for the most during his career.

“This is everything especially since my uncle is not here,” Bland said. “That’s the one person I dedicate this journey to. It’s a lot.”

2022 will be a developmental year for Aaron Bland. He has flaws for sure, but he has good traits that can be built upon which makes him a great value pick as a fifth-round selection. He’ll get the right schooling from the aforementioned Quinn and defensive backs coach Al Harris, and the hope will be that a solid pro can be made out of him once it’s all said and done with the skill set he brings to the table.

Feature image via Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports