Being the 167th pick in the 2022 draft, there were little expectations for cornerback DaRon Bland. The cornerback out of Fresno State was just a fifth-round pick and at the time when he was selected, he was expected to start training camp low on the team’s depth chart. The Dallas Cowboys came into the season with third-year corner Trevon Diggs and veteran corners Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis as the team’s three starters. Bland was expected to compete with Kelvin Joseph, Nahshon Wright and others for a spot as a depth player. However, with injuries plaguing the secondary this season, Bland has had greater opportunities than most day three picks get in their first season.
To say Bland has made the most of his opportunities would be an understatement. Despite not starting a majority of the season, he leads the team with five interceptions. That number is just one short of Seattle Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen, who leads all rookies with six on the season. However, Woolen has started all 16 games for the Seahawks this season, unlike Bland.
DaRon Bland took it away from him for the INT!— NFL (@NFL) December 25, 2022
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Players on the Cowboys defense have begun their pitch for Bland to win Defensive Rookie of the Year this season.
Jayron Kearse on Cowboys rookie CB DaRon Bland: “I’m extremely impressed with him. You take the name out of it, if you ask me, he’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, 6 starts, 5 picks, comes up, he’s a physical tackler, tight in coverage. Tremendous athlete. You see it every Sunday.”
Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs also tweeted “DROTY”, over a highlight of DaRon Bland getting an interception.
While Bland likely won’t win the award, he has provided not just valuable insurance through injuries to the team, but has given the unit a nice boost in production. Bland is another example of how the Cowboys continue to find diamonds in the rough in the NFL draft.