This offseason, the Dallas Cowboys have made their defense their top priority. That after this unit posted an embarrassing performance under first-year head coach Mike McCarthy in 2020. So much so that McCarthy’s handpicked defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan, is no longer on the staff.
In Nolan’s place, the Cowboys hired Dan Quinn this offseason, the former head coach for the Atlanta Falcons for the past six seasons. But the reason Quinn is in Dallas is due to his two-year stint as the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks from 2013-2014.
With the legendary Legion of Boom in the secondary, Quinn helped to lead the Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. Seattle would hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLVIII, a 43-8 bashing of the Denver Broncos.
The Cowboys are hoping the introduction of Quinn and the return to a more familiar defensive scheme will be enough to elevate a unit that ranked 23rd in average yards allowed to opposing offenses (386.4) and 31st against the run (158.8).
But the Cowboys defense might get its biggest boost from a second-year cornerback. Selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Alabama, cornerback Trevon Diggs was forced into early action as a rookie due to injury. And while the 22-year old struggled with consistency, but did show improvement as the season progressed.
According to Pro Football Focus, Diggs was among the best of his first-year peers from Week Seven to Week 17 (in which he played a total of six games). The young corner earned a coverage grade of 83.4 during that stretch, which was the best of any rookie cornerback in the NFL.
Diggs also ranked first in interceptions and pass deflections with a total of 10. He also ranked third when it came to allowing a lowly 58.8% completion percentage when targeted in that same time span. Diggs ended his rookie season posting 58 total tackles, 14 pass deflections and led the team with three interceptions as an 11-game starter.
With fellow starters in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis set to hit free agency next month, Trevon Diggs figures to be the number one option at cornerback for the Dallas Cowboys in only his second season. And the fact we saw steady improvement from the young defender in his first year bodes well for him taking the reins of Dan Quinn’s secondary in 2021.