Former first-rounder Noah Igbinoghene on fresh start with Cowboys: ‘I honestly needed it’

Former first-rounder Noah Igbinoghene on fresh start with Cowboys: ‘I honestly needed it’

First-rounders are finding new leases on their careers in Dallas these days.

Four days after quarterback Trey Lance, the No. 3 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, was acquired by the Cowboys, they traded for cornerback Noah Igbinoghene, the 30th selection of the 2020 draft.

For Igbinoghene, much like Lance, it’s a chance to turn his career around, and an essential opportunity at that.

“I feel like I honestly needed it,” Igbinoghene said Thursday, via the Cowboys’ team website’s Patrik Walker. “I can say my career hasn’t gone up to my expectations, but I’m still young. I’m 23 years old. When I came in, I was 20 years old. There’s a lot of stuff I went through, but it made me the man I am today. I get a new, fresh start with a new opportunity and new, fresh faces.

“I get to gain my respect again on a new team and show them what I can do.”

As Igbinoghene departed to Dallas, former second-rounder Kelvin Joseph arrived with the Miami Dolphins. It amounts to a low-risk swap for both squads in the hopes of rekindling a pair of once promising careers.

One of a flurry of transactions on one of the NFL’s busiest days, Tuesday, it’s obviously not lost on Igbinoghene just how important a turn of events it is for him.

“It’s a blessing,” he said. “I’m excited to get to work and to be a part of this team. … It’s an amazing opportunity to be here and play for this team. I’m hoping to thrive here. I’m going to put the work in and see how it goes.”

Still as young as some of the 2023 class’ rookies, Igbinoghene emerges from South Beach after three seasons of strife.

He played in just 32 games over those three seasons — 16 coming as a rookie — with nary five starts. In that time, he posted 29 tackles and garnered his first and so far only career interception last year. Having struggled mightily in coverage, Igbinoghene was tabbed with a 51.8 overall grade, per PFF, in 2022. His promise has shown itself most against the run and rushing the passer, but there’s no denying he fell way short of what he and the Dolphins had hoped he would achieve.

And he makes no excuses.

“You know my story: I went to Miami and it didn’t really go how I planned for it to go,” Igbinoghene said. “But God has blessed me with a new opportunity and a fresh start. I get to start over, start new, and I get to show this coaching staff and my new teammates what I can do so they can respect and trust me, more importantly, when I get on the field.”