The top of the 2020 NFL Draft has been kind to the Dallas Cowboys. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb fell all the way down to the Cowboys at pick #17. If that was the end of it, the Cowboys would have been winners in the draft. But in the second round, they struck gold again.
Cornerback Trevon Diggs was somebody the Cowboys were considering in the first round until Lamb wiped away any alternatives once he was still available. The team stayed patient, got Diggs at pick #51, and walked away looking like geniuses.
Now Diggs has a chance at a truly special season for a defensive back. The all-time record for interceptions in a season in the NFL is 14, held by Dick “Night Train” Lane and set way back in 1952. Diggs is currently on pace for 13 interceptions. A few other players have hit 13 with the last being Lester Hayes in 1980. By the dates listed here, you can see how special it would be for Diggs to hit 13 or more.
Obviously, Diggs has the advantage of playing a 17-game schedule compared with some of these guys who played in 12-game seasons. It is much harder to get interceptions in today’s NFL.
But the advantage of playing in a 17-game season is more than accounted for by how much harder it is to intercept passes these days: When Lane set the all-time record in 1952, 7.4 percent of all passes thrown in the NFL that season were intercepted. This season only 2.4 percent of all passes have been intercepted league-wide.
But, teams also pass a lot more now than they did back in the day, so those percentage number might not be as far apart as they seem. Diggs is also chasing Cowboys record-holder Everson Walls, who had 11 in 1981.
Whatever the case, we are witnessing something special. And if Diggs can continue to cash in, it may be historic.