Need a reason to watch the Dallas Cowboys? The answer is Trevon Diggs

Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys’ rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs is flashing star potential

Last Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles had all the makings of being that game for Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs. You know the kind I am talking about. The one where a young player oozing with potential, breaks out to announce his presence with authority.

The Cowboys lost to the Eagles 23-9 in one of the sloppiest offensive affairs Dallas fans have been forced to endure in recent memory. It may have taken half a season, but on Sunday night the rookie defensive back broke against through in a major way.

This offseason, when Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones left Dallas in free agency to sign with the Miami Dolphins, his departure left the Cowboys without a shutdown corner. While Jones wasn’t a ballhawk or threat to lead the league in interceptions, he more than made up for it by providing lockdown coverage and having a great sense of awareness.

To address Jones’ loss, Dallas selected Trevon Diggs out of Alabama in the second round of the NFL Draft. Diggs won a national championship with the Crimson Tide in 2018 and was an All-SEC first-team selection in 2019.

Dallas loved Diggs so much that owner Jerry Jones revealed after the draft that the Cowboys almost traded up to select him out of fear he may not be available when they drafted again with the 51st overall pick.

So far, Diggs’ rookie season has been filled with ups and downs. At times he has flashed the explosive ability that shows why the Cowboys thought so highly of him coming out of Alabama, providing tight coverage and playing with a high motor.

Just as frequently though, he has simply looked overmatched by the size and speed of the NFL game. That is at least, until now.

Much of this was to be expected. As a rookie this season, Diggs wasn’t afforded the luxury of having a traditional offseason. There was no rookie minicamp, no normal training camp, no preseason games. So when he was thrown into the fire in Week One of the regular season, he was truly thrown right into it.

With all-around poor secondary play and an injury to the team’s number one cornerback, Chidobe Awuzie, Trevon Diggs has been elevated to the position of top cornerback on Dallas’ roster. This means that he has been put in the unenvious position of shadowing most team’s best receivers right out of the gate.

Just eight games into his career he’s already been matching up against guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr., D.K. Metcalf, Calvin Ridley, and Terry McLaurin. In those games, the good and the bad has been on full display. Against the Arizona Cardinals, he did a solid job of holding Hopkins to just two receptions. But, one of those came on a third and two late in the fourth quarter with Dallas behind big and went for 60 yards.

One of Diggs’ biggest highlights serves as the perfect microcosm for his season so far. During the week three loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Diggs got burned on a go route by wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, but he hustled downfield and punched the ball out at the goal line.

It was a great moment, and Diggs showed more effort tracking down Metcalf on that single play than most of the Cowboys defense has shown all season. However, it also only came because Metcalf toasted Diggs like a slice of Wonder Bread.

It would have been easy for him to lose confidence early. He’s been beaten quite a few times this season by good to great wide receivers, but it’s also been fantastic to see him keep fighting.

Last Sunday night Diggs finally looked like he was able to take the flashes he’s shown throughout the season and turn them into an all-around great game. He shadowed the Eagles breakout receiver Travis Fulgham and intercepted quarterback Carson Wentz twice.

Both interceptions came at the perfect moments for the Cowboys even if the offense wasn’t able to do anything with them. The first was a marvelous pick in the endzone with just over two minutes remaining in the first half as the Cowboys led by one point. The second came early in the third quarter with the Cowboys leading 9-7.

Sure, he wasn’t perfect. Late in the third quarter following both of his interceptions, Diggs gave up a nine-yard touchdown to Flugham that helped the Eagles take a 15-9 lead, but all in all, it was his best game of the season. Actually, scratch that. It was the best game that any member of the Dallas Cowboys’ secondary has played all season.

Trevon Diggs still has a ways to go before he becomes the elite corner he’s capable of being. But with every game, he is getting visibly better and turning those brief flashes into some consistent success. The hope is that he can continue to grow and put together back to back great games.

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As Dallas continues to free fall in the NFC East standings fans are understandably grasping at straws for a reason to watch this team. Well, with Trevon Diggs blossoming before our eyes,  building confidence, and making plays, you don’t have to grasp at any. The Cowboys have a potential star on their hands.