When the Dallas Cowboys line up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week on Sunday Night Football, you will see many of the game’s premier players, as these two playoff teams from last year look to duke it out in what’s sure to be a slugfest of sorts.
Of the two teams’ best, perhaps the most intriguing two are guys that will have to square off against each other: Trevon Diggs and Mike Evans. How good is each player and what should we expect from this exciting matchup? Let’s find out.
How good is Tampa Bay Bucs WR Mike Evans?
Mike Evans has become a star and has consistently been one of the best receivers in the league since 2014. He’s never had a season with under 1,000 receiving yards. With Tom Brady, Evans has also been a touchdown machine, scoring 13 and 14 touchdowns the past two seasons.
Now, with Rob Gronkowski now retired, he should easily be the clear No. 1 option, especially in the red zone. While this receiver corps could feature Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Russell Gage this weekend as well, Evans is the most consistent target on the roster, and with his size and skillset, the 6-foot 5-inch, 231-pound receiver can be a matchup nightmare for any team.
How good is Dallas Cowboys CB Trevon Diggs?
Trevon Diggs did one thing better than anyone else in 2021, and that was creating turnovers. With Diggs’ 11 interceptions last year — the most from an NFL player since 1981 — he tied Everson Walls for the most interceptions in a season by a Cowboy.
Diggs also tied the record for most consecutive games with an interception to start a season with seven interceptions in the first six games. For these insane numbers he put up, Diggs was awarded Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors at the end of the 2021 season.
However, awards aside, Diggs wasn’t a complete player and still has a long way to go to be considered among the NFL’s best corners, despite coming in at No. 23 on the NFL Top 100 players list.
Diggs has some very elite traits, as his catching ability is more receiver-like than that of a corner. However, he is very jumpy and oftentimes overcommits to the ball instead of the receiver. This has caused him to get beat for many yards. Just last year alone, he allowed a league-leading 1.068 yards.
According to Pro Football Focus, he also allowed the 10th most receptions in the league. The good thing is, if Diggs can clean up, he could take the next step as a corner and become all-around elite, even if being less jumpy leads to fewer interceptions in total.
What to expect from the matchup between Diggs and Evans?
The star receiver and breakout corner will be repeating their matchup from last year’s season opener, where Diggs clearly won the matchup, but the Buccaneers won the game. Tasked with the difficult job of covering Mike Evans, Diggs made the most of the opportunity and held Evans to only one reception for 10 yards on three targets.
The Cowboys’ corner covered the big-bodied receiver for the vast majority of the game as well. Diggs was lined up against Evans on 83% of his snaps in the game.
As impressive as this was, it’s hard to expect Diggs to repeat that level of efficiency, as Evans consistently beats many corners in this league on a week-to-week basis. It’s very possible that if Diggs didn’t clean up his issues, that Evans could rack up quite a few yards this week.
However, if Diggs is more cautious about his coverage, the league better look out. A version of No. 7 that doesn’t give up big yards by being overly jumpy has the potential to be the best corner in the league. Let’s hope this game is the beginning of an incredible year for Diggs, as this should be a really fun matchup to watch.