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Cowboys corner Trevon Diggs moving beyond reputation of a gambler on defense

Trevon Diggs has played like the best cornerback in the NFL this season. However, he continues to not get the national respect he deserves.

Chicago Bears v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Cornerback Trevon Diggs certainly flashed for the Dallas Cowboys in 2021. He finished his sophomore season with 11 interceptions, the most in a single season since former Dallas Cowboys CB Everson Walls did it in 1981. While Diggs made Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in that season, his praise was also matched with criticism. Diggs turned heads across the league with his uber-aggressive play style. He constantly went for the big play on the ball, which sometimes led to him getting beat badly by the receiver he was covering.

The three major stat tracking companies associated with the NFL each had different numbers on how many yards Diggs allowed in coverage last season.

  • Pro Football Focus (PFF) credits Diggs with allowing 1,068 yards in coverage.
  • Next Gen Stats credits Diggs with allowing 790 yards in coverage.
  • Pro Football Reference credits Diggs with allowing 907 yards in coverage.

While it is hard say which number is completely accurate, Diggs himself has came out criticizing PFF, questioning the validity of their stats. Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott backed up Diggs in his remarks.

With all that being said, even Diggs admitted this previous offseason that he needed to be more disciplined. He acknowledged that he needed to worry more about his own technique, and everything else would fall into place.

This season, Diggs has done exactly that. Through 11 games in the 2022 season, Diggs has been significantly more consistent in coverage than he was just one season ago. He has locked up some of the league’s biggest name receivers through the Cowboys 8-3 start.

Receiving stats when covered by Trevon Diggs this season according to PFF:

When facing the Washington Commanders in week four, Diggs allowed just one catch, forced two incompletions, hauled in an interception, and allowed a 0.0 passer rating in coverage.

Since week five, Diggs has been targeted 23 times in coverage, and allowed just 16 receptions for 141 receiving yards, zero touchdowns, and has an interception and four pass break ups. Through 11 games, Diggs has the second most passes defended this season (13), only trailing New York Jets rookie Sauce Gardner (14).

While Diggs has focused on improving significantly in his ability to shut down opposing wide receivers throughout games, it has resulted in less interceptions. Diggs only has three interceptions so far this season. Hearing Diggs’ name get called less throughout the game is a good thing for the Cowboys. It means that he has turned into the cornerback that opposing quarterbacks don’t want to throw the ball at.

Don’t be mistaken though, when given the chance this season, Diggs has continued to prove he has the best ball skills in the league at his position.

On this play, Diggs covers Washington WR Jahan Dotson so well it appears he is the one running the route. He finishes the play with a beautiful over-the-shoulder catch that many starting corners in the NFL are unable to make.

On this play against the Detroit Lions, Diggs is able to adjust his body and make an extremely difficult catch near the ground for an interception. This would be a tough adjustment for professional wide receivers to make, let alone a player playing on the defensive side of the ball.

Despite his outstanding season, Diggs is just third in Pro Bowl votes among cornerbacks as of Nov 28. Furthermore, many fans still consider Diggs a “fringe” top five player at his position. In reality, Diggs has done everything he can this season to prove that he is the very best cornerback in the league. He continues to be nationally underrated due to the reputation he gained from last season, despite fixing the technical errors that led to that public perception. At just 24-years-old, Diggs is continuing to improve and solidifying himself as not just a top cornerback in the league, but a top defensive player as well.

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