Can this Dallas Cowboys’ rookie outperform several veterans to earn a starting role in 2020?
The Dallas Cowboys came away with a top-rated draft class this year, seemingly getting great value with nearly every single selection. Yet, it’s unclear if any of these rookies outside of first-round wide receiver CeeDee Lamb will secure a starting role in 2020.
There are some rookies who could emerge this summer as potential starters at some point this upcoming season. The obvious choice might be fourth-round rookie center Tyler Biadasz due to the recent retirement of All-Pro starter, Travis Frederick.
A sleeper might be fifth-round selection Bradlee Anae. The young pass rusher out of Utah could surprise as a starter at defensive end. With Aldon Smith not having played football since 2015 and Tyrone Crawford coming off double hip surgery, there may be a window for the talented Anae to impress new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and earn an early starting nod.
But the rookie the Cowboys might need to earn a starting role more than any other is Trevon Diggs. With the loss of Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones this offseason, Dallas has a major void to fill in their secondary. But the Cowboys also have plenty of veteran candidates to fill that role between Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Daryl Worley, Maurice Canady, Anthony Brown, and others.
Quick maturation for Diggs best-case scenario for the Dallas Cowboys
But the Cowboys landed Diggs in the second round and have clearly earmarked him for a starting role at some point. If the rookie out of Alabama is able to outplay the veteran cornerbacks on the roster for a starting role this summer, that would be the best-case scenario for Dallas.
Here’s what Jeffri Chadiha, a columnist for NFL.com, wrote recently about Diggs after naming him one of five rookies who most need to succeed in Year 1.
"“The Cowboys ranked 10th in the NFL in passing yards allowed in 2019 but their seven interceptions tied them for last in the league. They’re also opening this season with four straight games against opponents who will look to challenge their secondary (the Rams, Falcons, Seahawks and Browns). A quick maturation for Diggs — who fell to the second round after being considered a first-round talent — would make a world of difference.”"
During his senior season at Alabama, Trevon Diggs recorded 37 total tackles, eight pass deflections, and three interceptions in 12 games. The Dallas Cowboys are looking for cornerbacks who can get takeaways after Byron Jones struggled to record just two interceptions over five years. If Diggs can prove he’s that type of defensive playmaker, the rookie may leapfrog the veteran cornerbacks on the depth chart rather quickly.