When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Cornerback Trevon Diggs in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft the expectation was for him to be the building block for a revamped secondary. 26 games into his career, he's proving that he is that and more.
On the first offensive play by the Washington Football Team against Dallas on Sunday night, Diggs hauled in his 11th interception of the 2021 season, tying the Cowboys franchise record set by Everson Walls in 1981. It was the third interception by Diggs in the last four games and the 10th game he's registered at least one this season.
Considering the rate at which Diggs snags interceptions it would be wise to throw at him as little as possible, right? Well, Washington took it upon themselves to test him right out of the gate, and Diggs was flabbergasted they did so.
“I was in my feelings. Like, ‘Wow, they really just did that,'” Diggs said.
Diggs wasn't the only Cowboys player who was surprised by the method of attack Washington chose to take at the beginning of Sunday's game. Safety Jayron Kearse, who is having his best season in the NFL, was shocked that Washington went after Diggs on the first play of the game.
“If that’s what you want to do, put the ball in the air, we’re going to take the ball,” Kearse said. “It’s just that simple. …It was mind-boggling for me. Of all people, you test him.”
Washington Wide Receiver Terry McLaurin is a good player and one any defense should target as a weapon to neutralize. However, against Diggs, he's been a non-factor. According to Pro Football Focus, Diggs has held McLaurin to one reception on six targets in their two games head to head this season, lockdown to say the least.
Former Cowboys cornerback and Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is the end all be all when it comes to covering wide receivers on the NFL level. As the head coach at Jackson State University, Sanders is a busy man and hasn't had much time to evaluate Diggs. However, he's impressed with what the second-year corner has done.
“I think (Diggs) has been phenomenal,” Sanders said on The Rich Eisen Show. “I truly hadn’t had a chance to study him or watch him right. But what he’s accomplished is phenomenal. Of course, the next phase is going man to man against the best man every week, then you get the accolades and the talk of the guys who’ve been doing it for years. A guy like Patrick Peterson came out of the womb to play man to man against the opponent’s best receiver. Jalen Ramsey, same way. You’re going to get balls, they’re not going to throw away from you because that’s their best. That kid can play and I’m proud of him. What he’s doing out there on the field for cornerbacks, I’m proud of.”
Diggs now has two more games to break the Cowboys franchise record for interceptions and an outside shot to equal the record of 14 set by “Night Train” Lane in 1952. Naysayers still doubt Diggs, and their reason is that he gives up too many yards. Yards allowed might be the most overrated stat when it comes to defense. Points allowed and turnovers carry more weight, and Diggs is giving the ball back to the Cowboys' offense regularly, which is exactly what any team wants from their top cornerback.