The Dallas Cowboys were in search of a true No. 1 cornerback once Byron Jones left the franchise. A month after his departure, the Cowboys drafted Trevon Diggs with the 51st pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Thrown into the fire from the start, Diggs had his growing pains due to facing some tough competition at the wide receiver position. Also, he missed four games with a broken foot.
It didn't stop Diggs from having a productive rookie campaign. He finished with three interceptions and 14 passes defended, leading the team in each category. Diggs had his hands on several passes that could have turned into interceptions as well last season. Nonetheless, when you look at what Diggs has done when it comes to registering interceptions in the first 18 games of his career in comparison to some of the best defensive backs the NFL has ever produced it's truly remarkable.
Interceptions in first 18 NFL games:
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 18, 2021
All the players mentioned above are either Hall of Famers, future Hall of Famers, or current perennial All-Pro performers. Diggs has a long way to go to reach the level of these players which is understandable. However, it can't be denied that Diggs, in a short amount of time, has catapulted his name to the top of the list in today's NFL when it comes to ball-hawking playmakers at the cornerback position.
In his last 11 games going back to last season, Diggs has hauled in 10 interceptions. In six games in 2021, he already has seven interceptions to go along with 11 passes defended which both lead the NFL. However, it isn't just that Diggs is taking the ball away, he's also putting points on the board. The former wide receiver turned cornerback has run back two interceptions for touchdowns so far this season. It's one thing to get turnovers but when they turn into points it can be demoralizing for the opposing team.
The instincts of Diggs are off the charts and it allows him to anticipate routes and make plays. Cowboys Defensive Backs Coach Al Harris talked recently about how special he feels Diggs is already in the early stages of his career.
“I've never seen anything like it. Never seen anything like him,” said Harris. “Once all the stars line up where it's a look, a split, a release, once they line up, he takes off and goes and gets it.”
Diggs is only the second player since the 1970 merger to register seven interceptions in the first six games of a season joining Hall of Famer Rod Woodson (1993). However, Diggs is the first player to run back two of those interceptions for touchdowns.
Although Diggs is playing better than any cornerback in the NFL right now, he still feels like he hasn't done much to get the praise he's received lately.
“I feel like teams are going to continue to try me,” Diggs said. “I feel like I still haven’t proven anything. I still haven’t proven nothing to myself. So I feel like teams probably feel like that, too.”
Diggs is only four interceptions from tying Everson Walls for the single-season team record of 11 set in 1981. He would have to double his total in the last 11 games of the season to match the record of 14 set by Hall of Famer Night Train Lane in 1952.
Regardless of how many more interceptions Diggs collects in 2021, he has established himself as the leader in the Cowboys secondary and one of the best at his position league-wide.