The Dallas Cowboys have a long history with disappointing draft picks at the cornerback position. But while he’s only had two games so far in his NFL career, rookie Trevon Diggs is starting to look like the team’s first big hit at CB in many years.
No, Diggs hasn’t logged an interception yet in 2020. But against the Rams and Falcons he’s displayed blanketing coverage and big-play potential on at least two near misses for picks.
Of course it hasn’t been perfect for the rookie as Trevon’s been on the wrong end of a few big plays. In Los Angeles he had textbook coverage on Van Jefferson’s 31-yard catch up the sideline; Jared Goff just made the even more perfect throw.
Against Atlanta, Diggs got called for a big pass interference against Julio Jones which was somewhat questionable. Later in the game, he also got beat by Julio on a ball that the All-Pro WR shockingly dropped.
But still, outside of a few plays, the overall impression from Trevon Diggs has been stellar. If he’d completed the catch on just one of his INT opportunities so far, the buzz he’s already generating would be much, much louder.
And after what we’ve seen, or haven’t seen, from cornerbacks in Dallas over the last 20 years, that’s already a significant success for the Cowboys.
A few weeks before the 2020 NFL Draft I wrote about Dallas’ bad history with 1st-round CB selections such as Mike Jenkins, Morris Claiborne, and even Terence Newman and Byron Jones. All of them had varying degrees of disappointment during their time with the Cowboys.
You could even throw Day 2 picks like Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis into this discussion. While they haven’t faced the same lofty expectations of the 1st-round guys, both Awuzie and Lewis have failed to establish themselves as long-term assets in Dallas.
To be fair, injuries were the only thing that prevented Terence Newman from being a superstar in Dallas. And Byron Jones being a late bloomer was really the Cowboys’ fault for wasting him at safety for a few years.
Nevertheless, there’s no denying that Dallas hasn’t gotten what they wanted out of any of those premium draft picks. You can only point to late-round surprises like Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown as examples of the Cowboys getting a positive return on their investments at cornerback.
Two games hardly defines a career, or even a single season. But Trevon Diggs is on the right path to writing a new chapter in this ugly CB history.
There’s something poetic about Diggs taking over the #27 that was previously held by Jourdan Lewis. The number became available in February when Lewis opted to switch back to #26 from his college days.
In training camp we saw Diggs wearing #31, Byron Jones’ old number, which was it’s own form of poetry. And even though he no longer has the number Trevon has certainly taken over Byron’s role as the top CB for the Cowboys.
But for the last few years it’s been Jourdan Lewis that everyone kept wanting to see more from. Thanks to a few interceptions in clutch moments his first two seasons, Lewis built a cult following and was seen as the potential star CB that our inept defensive coaches failed to appreciate.
Like we saw with Byron Jones his first few years, the Cowboys certainly can whiff on evaluating and properly utilizing their CB talent. Lewis may have been a victim of the same treatment; another casualty of Rod Marinelli’s expired value as a defensive coordinator.
Lewis finally got more opportunities in 2019 and didn’t deliver as hoped. Now he and Chido Awuzie, who’s been equally underwhelming the last three seasons, have moved to the back burner with the arrivals of rookies Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson.
Diggs is the focal point; the guy that Dallas claims they’ve have drafted with their 1st-round pick if CeeDee Lamb hadn’t been surprisingly available. With that statement hanging around his neck, Trevon might as well have been a 1st-rounder given the expectations.
So far Trevon Diggs hasn’t wilted from that heat. From being a Week 1 starter to facing off against Julio Jones in his second game, Diggs has accepted the challenges and shown way more good than bad in his NFL infancy.
Again, there’s still plenty of season left for the hype train to go off the rails. Even Morris Claiborne had some good moments in his rookie year.
But something just feels different right now with Trevon Diggs. There’s a spark to his play at CB which we just haven’t seen much of around here.
And hopefully, once Diggs finally snags a pick or two, that spark will turn into a fire for the Cowboys’ new number-one corner.