It is officially NFL Combine week. That means we will get lots and lots of tweets of hand measurements, height and weight, and teams lining up to interview different prospects in Indianapolis.
Ahead of the combine, The Athletic released a full first-round mock draft with the input from each team’s writer and even some college writers on the different selections. There were some expected picks — like Joe Burrow to the Bengals, for instance — and some surprising selections.
As for the Cowboys, Jon Machota went cornerback at pick 17. Javon Kinlaw was off the board, and Machota does not believe that the team will value safety enough to address the need in the first-round. Therefore, Machota drafted Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, the younger brother of current Vikings star receiver Stefon Diggs.
17. Dallas Cowboys: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
Many experts have projected that the Cowboys will take a safety here. There are great options like LSU’s Grant Delpit and Alabama’s Xavier McKinney still on the board. There’s no question the safety position needs to be upgraded, but the Cowboys haven’t drafted one in the first two rounds since Roy Williams in 2002. I don’t think they’ll do it here, either. With Byron Jones headed to free agency, I believe Dallas will put a greater value on cornerback. A standout defensive lineman like Javon Kinlaw or A.J. Epenesa would be my pick if either was still available. In this scenario, I see the Cowboys taking the best cornerback on the board. That could be Diggs, LSU’s Kristian Fulton or Florida’s C.J. Henderson. I went with the brother of Vikings WR Stefon Diggs because of his size (6-2, 207) and ball skills (3 interceptions and 8 pass breakups last season). — Jon Machota
Machota gives a solid explanation on the Diggs pick. For one, the front office has not shown to value the safety position. Will that change under the new coaching staff? That remains to be seen.
Kristian Fulton, Jeff Gladney, and CJ Henderson have been projected to go higher than the Alabama corner by many, but Machota is betting on the upside that Diggs brings to the table — specifically when talking about size and ball skills.
Diggs began his collegiate career at wide receiver, accounting for his impressive ball skills in the secondary. For more insight on the Crimson Tide product, Alabama writer Aaron Suttles wrote on what the Cowboys would be getting from the Maryland native:
What the Cowboys would be getting with Diggs: Diggs graded well at cornerback for Nick Saban’s secondary in 2019. He has an NFL pedigree as the brother of one of the league’s best receivers (Stefon Diggs). He checks a lot of boxes. He has the size at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, and the length that scouts like in the secondary. The athleticism is there as well. He came to Alabama and started off as a wide receiver. He even spent some time on special teams. There’s value in that on limited NFL rosters. He made three interceptions his senior season in 12 games (he didn’t play in the bowl game) with eight pass breakups. —Aaron Suttles, Alabama beat writer
The former five-star recruit proved to make an impact in the secondary and added some value on special teams as well, returning some punts and kicks during his time in Tuscaloosa.
Perhaps the most attractive aspect of Diggs’ game is ability to create turnovers, The potential first-round prospect showed off good ball skills with his four career interceptions — including a pick-six — and many deflected passes, and he also added two fumble recoveries and a score.
Corner is one of the bigger needs for the Cowboys and that obviously gets bigger if Byron Jones leaves town. Could Trevon Diggs be the pick at number 17?