Defense, defense, defense. As we inch closer to NFL draft weekend, that seems to be the most popular thing on the minds of everyone in Cowboys Nation. The future success of the Dallas Cowboys, and every team in the league for that matter, is dependent on having quality drafts. As we approach draft weekend, the Cowboys not only are looking to fill in the many holes on defense, but it will be imperative to provide that side of the ball with playmakers. The heat is on for Jerry & Stephen Jones, and Will McClay to knock this year’s picks out of the park.
Last year’s second-round pick, Trevon Diggs, is no stranger to the heat himself. The Alabama product was inserted into the Cowboys lineup as a rookie, and was looked upon to be a playmaker and provide the defense with the aggressiveness and big-play ability that they have been lacking for years. Diggs was the 51st pick in last year’s draft and many within the Cowboys organization were ecstatic to see he was still available for them in the second round. Many reports that circulated before and after the 2020 draft stated that the Cowboys were very interested in taking Diggs with their first-round selection, but they ultimately stayed true to their board and opted to not miss out on CeeDee Lamb, who they never imagined would be an option once pick 17 was on the clock. Dallas was able to double-dip on what the Cowboys believed to be two very worthy first-round selections, and both look to be key cornerstone players for this team’s future.
As year two for Diggs kicks off and voluntary workouts are underway, he will look to build on a very solid rookie season. A season in which he appeared in 12 games, 11 of those in which he started, and was able to lead the entire team with three interceptions, as well as producing 58 tackles, 14 pass defensed, one sack and one forced fumble. However, last year wasn't with out its bumps as well, as Diggs was sidelined for four weeks with a broken foot. Also, due to COVID-19 and the challenges that the pandemic presented the entire league, rookies through out the NFL had to forego the traditional way of doing an offseason program. The pandemic and the rules that were in place to keep everybody safe really limited the instances for rookies such as Diggs to get valuable learning opportunities that rookie classes before them were accustomed to. On Sundays, Diggs found himself growing into the CB1 role, and found himself face-to-face with some of the leagues best wide outs.
Diggs never backed down, and even when he was beaten on a play, he showed growth and the maturity to shake it off and get after it again. That mindset and his competitive drive was showcased when the Cowboys faced off against Seattle. Diggs was badly beaten on a play by DK Metcalf and Russell Wilson was able to connect for a deep pass that surely looked to result in six points. Diggs’s never quit attitude and a bit of Metcalf’s poor decision-making allowed Diggs the opportunity to catch up and knock the ball out of his hand that forced a touchback, saving the Cowboys from giving up six points. Plays like that, coupled with the confidence that grew for Diggs as the season progressed, have many within the organization feeling good about their second-round selection and Diggs’ future with the team.
Many believe Dallas will be selecting a cornerback with their 10th selection in this year’s draft. By doing so they would be adding another young, talented cornerback to the fold. Diggs’s maturation and on-field growth will need to continue to develop and flourish in order for the Cowboys defensive improvement to reach the levels needed to be at a Super Bowl height. Former teammate Chidobe Awuzie is in Cincinnati now after signing with the Bengals in free agency. The rest of the Cowboys current cornerbacks are not viewed to be as talented as Diggs is believed to be, and although there are veterans with plenty of experience on this team, such as Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown, it is safe to assume that Trevon Diggs is the big dog in the cornerback room now. Diggs will need to take on a leadership role within that room which was earned from his play and attitude he showcased through his rookie year. He will need to take that mentality and use his voice in that position room in order to elevate a key group of men within that defensive huddle.
The draft may be bringing some new teammates and some talented help for Diggs, but there is no question that the Dallas Cowboys will be looking for him to take that next step in year two.