The Dallas Cowboys weren't good on defense in 2020, it's a simple as that. However, second-round pick Trevon Diggs proved to be one of the few bright spots. He had his ups and downs and missed four games due to a broken foot, but still led the team in interceptions (3) and pass defended (14).
Diggs has a lot of expectations placed on him after such a solid showing as a rookie, and it appears he's been getting guidance from a veteran in the cornerback room. Anthony Brown, a sixth-round pick of the Cowboys out of Purdue in 2016, has been adjacent to Diggs during his brief stint in the NFL.
“That's like my big brother,” Diggs said during OTAs, according to the team website. “I go over to his house. He's a really good influence on my career. I ask him questions all the time. It's good to have a good vet in your corner that you can talk to.”
Brown isn't a name that's going to create a big buzz but he's been a pretty solid pro. He's racked up 211 tackles, six interceptions (tied a career-high with two in 2020), 35 passes defended, four sacks, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and a defensive touchdown in his five seasons. Sprinkle in 41 starts in the 66 games he's played in, he has the resume to guide a young corner like Diggs, and he'll have plenty of time to do so after signing a three-year, $15.5 million dollar deal in March.
For months leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft, most had Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain going to the Cowboys and reuniting with his college teammate Diggs. It came so close to happening that Surtain was picked one slot ahead of the Cowboys at nine by the Denver Broncos, which forced them to trade down with the Philadelphia Eagles two spots to 12 and grab stud linebacker, Micah Parsons out of Penn State.
When a potential reunion of that nature comes so close to being a reality it causes one to wonder what could've been. However, Diggs is embracing the Cowboy's 2021 second-round pick out of Kentucky, cornerback Kelvin Joseph, and he feels the selection was meant to happen.
“I did watch the draft and I did think that, but you never know what happens,” Diggs said during the second day of OTAs. “You never know what happens with the draft. I'm grateful for what we got. Kelvin has looked good in practice.
“He's explosive, fast — everything. I'm happy. At the same time, I thought we were going to get my guy, but we didn't. But everything worked out as it should, and everything happened for a reason.
“I feel like this happened for a good reason.”
Joseph showed in his one season in Lexington that he was a ballhawk type of corner as his four interceptions were tied for the second-most in the SEC in 2020. With Diggs being a playmaker himself, it sets the stage for a very promising starting duo at the cornerback position for the foreseeable future in Dallas.
Diggs has taken a similar approach with Joseph that Brown took with him. He's being a support system as the rookie gets accumulated to being a professional athlete, even though he's only been one for a year. Diggs was straightforward in the advice he gave the former Wildcat about how to go about things.
“Just keep your head down and work,” Diggs told Joseph. “Just work hard and keep your head down and work and everything will take care of itself.”
No matter how well a rookie plays there's always room for improvement. To whom much is given much is required, and Diggs has been handed the keys to the cornerback room, making his development paramount to the Cowboy's defense, and he feels he's ready to take the next step.
“I feel like I'm going to be an improved player from last season,” Diggs said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “I feel like this year will be a good year. I'm locked in, I'm focused. I got one year under my belt to see how everything is and transition into the NFL. I'm excited to see what Year 2 has to come.”
Diggs has veteran leadership in his corner and another young playmaker opposite him with who he is already building a bond during the offseason program. Couple that with his determination to be better, his second season in the NFL has the makings of being a special one.