Cowboys future focus: CB Bryan McCann

Third in a series looking at Cowboys young players from 2010.

Bryan McCann

Position: Cornerback

Height: 5-10. Weight: 189

College: SMU

How acquired: Undrafted free agent, 2010

What he did in 2010: After being one of the final cuts before the start of the regular season, McCann was quickly signed by the Baltimore Ravens, but that was short lived. He was inactive for Week 1 and then released. But the Cowboys admired his speed and signed him to the practice squad on Sept. 17. McCann got promoted to the active roster Nov. 4 and made an impact in several games. In Jason Garrett’s first game as coach, Nov. 14 at the New York Giants, McCann picked off an Eli Manning pass and returned it 101 yards for a touchdown. The next week, McCann returned a punt 97 yards for a score. McCann had some issues when he replaced Dez Bryant as punt returner. He muffed a few punts and fumbled twice during the season. Garrett talked about McCann has to improve on his ball security. As a corner, he still needed work, but secondary coach Dave Campo liked his attitude and McCann improved in man coverage and later in the season he earned more snaps on defense.

What to look for in 2011: Dez Bryant is the playmaker on punt returns, but McCann can make his mark on kick returns. He averaged 22 yards a return and seemed to grasp the role better than fellow rookie Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, who just seemed to run in a straight line at times. McCann will be challenged this season for one of the corner spots. He might make the team again as a returner but depending on what is done in the draft regarding the cornerback position, his status is uncertain. He is battling for a fourth corner spot, but last year the Cowboys employed just three. It could change with a new defensive coordinator.

Quotable: “I can get better. I know I have to protect the ball all the time and I’m working on that in practice. At home, I’ll carry the ball around with me to make sure I don’t drop it. I know I can be a better player and I’m striving for that.” -Bryan McCann

Bryan Broaddus’ Scout’s Eye: The thing that we saw with Bryan McCann had a lot to do with training camp, he was a very competitive player. In my view he can really grow a lot. When it came down to competition, he wasn’t looking for the last guy in the wide receiver group to go against, McCann was so competitive, he always went against Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant, didn’t matter who it was, he wasn’t afraid to challenge the best receivers in camp. His technique is good because he has really good quickness and has a really good eye for when to break on the football and he can get up on the receivers and play the ball and use his body and use his reach to defend passes. He grew throughout training camp.