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Cowboys News: The debate over Trevon Diggs’ interceptions versus analytics

Your Wednesday edition of news on America’s Team.

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When it comes to Trevon Diggs, analytics don’t tell whole story of Cowboys CB’s value - Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News

The All-Pro cornerback had an outstanding season.

So it’s interesting, to say the least, that Pro Football Focus, a leading data-driven website that uses complex formulas to quantify anything that moves, isn’t a fan. Where did PFF rank Diggs among cornerbacks this season? Thirty-sixth.

Yikes. Now, as illustrated above, not everyone sees this like PFF. Some of us rely on, like, our eyes. Here in Dallas, we know what average or even poor cornerback play looks like. We’ve seen enough to make us go blind. Some of us are even old enough to remember what great corners look like. For instance, we remember Deion Sanders.

Trevon reminds us of Deion. Frankly, yours truly liked Diggs even before he led the world with 11 picks, a level that hadn’t been reached in 40 years. Don’t hold this against me or Diggs, but Mike McCarthy liked the rookie out of Alabama, too. Said he’d never seen a defensive back react as well when the ball’s in the air.

Mailbag: Biggest Problem Along The O-Line? - David Helman and Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com

Fixing the offensive line should be priority number one this offseason.

Given the Cowboys' track record of picking OL in the middle rounds (e.g. Tyler Biadasz, the two Connors, Chaz Green) do you think it would be wise to trade up for a difference maker like Zion Johnson or even Tyler Linderbaum? – GARY SADLER / SOUTH LAKE

TAHOE, CA David: Like I said a minute ago, I'm not ready to write off Tyler Biadasz just yet, but I get your point. It's early, but I'm not sure you need to get that drastic. Tyler Linderbaum, widely considered the best center in this class, might not fall all the way to No. 24. But I don't think you'd need to trade up for Zion Johnson, the guard center out of Boston College, or Texas A&M's Kenyon Green.

Rob: I don't mind that idea in theory because offensive line would be my top draft priority at this stage of the offseason. However, I agree with Dave that Tyler Biadasz still can be a viable starter in this league. And remember, there are question marks regarding depth at other positions right now: linebacker, wide receiver, safety. It's too early to know how to rank those until we get through free agency.

Cowboys Mentioned As Potential Destination For Intriguing Safety - Kenneth Teape, NFL Analysis Network

The safety position will once again be a topic of conversation this spring.

Having impact talent always helps and the Cowboys now have some to match their explosive offense. Micah Parsons is already a star after being selected 12th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. The team also has playmaker Trevon Diggs at the cornerback position, who led the NFL with 11 interceptions. This defense has building blocks, but could still use some pieces to help get them to that next level. One area that could use an upgrade is the safety spot. That is where KD Drummond of Cowboys Wire believes they should look in free agency.

If Drummond could pick one free agent for the Cowboys to target, it would be Marcus Williams of the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are in a salary cap bind, so they could lose Williams in free agency if a team comes with an aggressive offer. Williams has been a consistent performer earning a PFF grade of at least 70 for five consecutive seasons. Still only 26-years old, he will be looking to cash in this offseason after playing 2021 on the franchise tag.

CB Anthony Brown Up Against Salary Cap, Young Talent in 2022 Offseason - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

The veteran cornerback is in a tough spot.

Like most corners, Anthony was on the wrong end of some plays as well. His four penalties in the Thanksgiving loss to the Raiders drew the wrong kind of notoriety, and he struggled at times against some of the top receivers in the NFL. Still, Brown is a great late-pick success story. The former 6th-Round selection in 2016 has defied expectations to be a serviceable corner. But circumstances in 2022 may still force him off Dallas’ roster.

The key issue is the salary cap. The Cowboys are currently about $13 million over the cap and have to make moves to re-sign a slew of free agents or bring in new talent.

Brown has one year left on his contract and a $6.5 million cap hit in 2022. With only $1.5 million in dead money, Dallas would create a nice chunk of $5 million in cap space by releasing Anthony in the coming weeks. Cornerbacks are valuable, even the semi-average ones, and losing a player of Brown’s caliber is less than ideal. But the blow is softened by having last year’s 2nd and 3rd-round picks, Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright, to go along with Diggs and Lewis as a core CB group.

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