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The one Cowboys player with the most to prove at training camp

Cowboys training camp Kelvin Joseph CeeDee Lamb Dak Prescott

The Cowboys will look significantly different on both sides of the ball this season. With so many departures from the starting lineup, Oxnard will play host to several position battles as some previously unproven assets prepare to play expanded roles in the new season.

CeeDee Lamb’s new role as Dak Prescott’s premier wideout will require him to step up his game, Ezekiel Elliott has plenty of work to do to prove that he can still be a fixture in the Cowboys’ offense, and expectations for Tyler Smith are as high as any offensive lineman drafted by the Cowboys in the last few years.

The Cowboys have plenty of question marks up and down the depth chart, but the player with more to gain (and more to lose) than any other on Dallas’ roster this summer may be Kelvin Joseph.

1 Cowboys player with most to prove: Kelvin Joseph

After Dallas called Kelvin Joseph’s name in the second round of the 2021 draft, the Kentucky product had earned the distinction of being Dallas’ highest-drafted defensive back since 2015 when the Cowboys spent the 27th overall pick on Byron Jones. Dallas expected a lot out of Joseph early on, adding him to a defensive back room that had showed little promise prior to Trevon Diggs’ breakout year last season, but health issues put a damper on Joseph’s rookie year. Joseph only made two starts and played less than a quarter of the Cowboys’ defensive snaps last year. Meanwhile, Trevon Diggs erupted for 11 interceptions and Anthony Brown earned significant playing time as the team’s second cornerback.

The biggest blow to Joseph’s standing on the Cowboys depth chart may have come off the field. Joseph was investigated by Dallas police back in April for his involvement in a shooting that resulted in the death of a man and the arrest of two others. Joseph was never taken into custody by police and was eventually declared an innocent bystander in the incident, but the ordeal surely strained the second-year cornerback’s relationship with America’s Team.

Through it all, the Cowboys stuck by their 2021 second-round pick. Dallas could have easily severed ties with Joseph and looked for other options at cornerback, but they chose to let the situation play out. Joseph isn’t completely out of hot water. The NFL could still hand down a private suspension for Joseph’s involvement in the shooting.

The league has been known to levy suspensions in some situations even after law enforcement has completed an investigation of a player without bringing charges against him. The NFL has yet to make their decision on the matter, but it appears that Joseph will be on the field for Dallas this year at some point.

After all the setbacks and distractions, Kelvin Joseph has arrived in Oxnard for training camp this summer with a chance to step out and be the player Dallas drafted him to be a year ago. Anthony Brown is the likely favorite to start the year in the starting lineup alongside Trevon Diggs, and Jourdan Lewis will have a shot at earning some playing time as well. Joseph’s ceiling will be hard for Dan Quinn and company to ignore.

After all Joseph has been through, and all the Cowboys have endured to give him a shot, this year’s training camp will be some of the most important weeks of Joseph’s career. These next few weeks are his chance to show the front office that their patience with him has paid off. If he can live up to Dallas’ expectations, he may be the boost Dallas’ secondary needs to elevate their performance as a unit.