in a precarious position ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. The former second-round pick recently presented himself to Dallas police after law enforcement sought him out for an interview to sift through the details of a fatal shooting that occurred on the evening of March 18 -- Joseph having not come forward with any information prior to the police making their formal request last week. Two arrests have since been made in the case, neither being Joseph, but the case remains open and that means there's still a chance Joseph could face charges.
In the meantime, the Cowboys began their offseason program this week by way of voluntary OTAs, and Joseph was in attendance, says team exec Stephen Jones -- who would not make an official stance on the potential guilt or innocence of Joseph.
"The investigation is ongoing," said Jones to 105.3FM the Fan on Tuesday. "We're waiting to get all of the information. But in the meantime, he was here yesterday and participating in the offseason program. ... We're not going to comment any further on any of the details at this point. The investigation is ongoing.
"We're obviously getting a lot of details here, but that's all we're going to say at this point."
For clarity, sources tell CBS Sports the Cowboys weren't made aware of the case involving Joseph until a formal interview was requested by police. And as they finalize their big board for the coming NFL draft next week in Las Vegas, the question of if they're now elevating the position of defensive back as a bigger need emerges.
For his part, Jones claims the Cowboys will stick to their board and take the best player available.
"You're always into taking the best player on our board, as you know," he said, before pointing out the selection of wide receiver CeeDee Lamb at the 17th-overall pick in 2020. "And not unlike what we did with CeeDee, we took the best player there when we weren't necessarily needing a wide receiver. So, you know, we try to have the depth, have what we need on the roster going into the draft so that we're not affected by taking the best player on the board."
Joseph is expected to compete with Anthony Brown for the nod at CB2 in 2022, after a solid showing in his rookie year.
That said, it's what the Cowboys may or may not do in the second round of the draft this year that also intrigues, seeing as they usually use that pick to roll the dice on a player entering the league with red flags -- e.g., Randy Gregory, Jaylon Smith, Kelvin Joseph -- to not much success. Gregory battled the NFL front office for years and through several suspensions before finally being allowed to gain traction at the pro level, leading to a hefty five-year deal with the Denver Broncos in 2022 free agency that was initially to be awarded by the Cowboys, if not for a last-second contract snafu that detonated the agreement.
Smith offered some success as well, returning from a devastating knee injury suffered in the Fiesta Bowl that threatened to end his football career entirely -- battling back to not only return and become a starter for the Cowboys, but to also earn Pro Bowl honors in 2019, before regressing in the years to follow for a variety of reasons (e.g., carousel of defensive coaching changes) that led to his release in 2021.
It's unknown what Joseph might be, assuming no charges are brought against him and he remains a Cowboy for the longterm (keeping in mind an NFL suspension is also a possibility here), but one thing is certain, and that's the fact you can never rule Dallas out of taking a risky swing in the second round. To that end, however, Jones stands firm in the belief the Cowboys are doing all of their due diligence on red-flag prospects.
That, for Jones, expressly includes digging into the character of the player.
"I think it's huge," he said. "You go into that with every player and you certainly give grades on their character risk, and we go in-depth, at least 25% of the report is based on the guy's character, football character, personal character, on and off the field -- all the things that go into the makeup of what a football player is going to be like and what you project him to be like when he gets into the NFL. But it's certainly a big part of the evaluation process when we're taking a look at how he will fit in for the Dallas Cowboys, what we project him to be like, both on and off the field, and certainly a big part of the evaluation."
They're hoping the roll of the dice on Joseph doesn't come up snake eyes, but it seems a foregone conclusion they might look to grab some insurance against that possibility in this year's draft to help take on the role opposite All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs for the foreseeable future.