3 biggest Cowboys surprises at the halfway point of 2023 season

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1. DaRon Bland

On all levels, the injury to cornerback Trevon Diggs was horrible, brutal, and a big loss for the Cowboys' secondary. But that season-ending ACL tear for Diggs has taken cornerback DaRon Bland's game to the next level.

Dallas selected Bland in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, and he is looking like the steal of last year's draft. In his rookie season, the Cowboys cornerback had five interceptions -- most of which came when he took over for the injured Jourdan Lewis after Week 7.

As great as Bland was in his rookie season, this year has shown a whole different side of him. It's a side that has shown him as a lock-down corner for Dallas' defense.

Through eight games, Bland has 29 tackles, 10 passes defensed, four interceptions, and three touchdowns. His four interceptions are tied for the second most in the NFL, while his three defensive scores are the most.

His three touchdowns this year are also more than Tee Higgins (2), Calvin Ridley (2), Dallas Goedert (2), DK Metcalf (2), Terry McLaurin (2), and Amari Cooper (2) all have so far in 2023.

Bland has an incredible nine interceptions through one and a half seasons in his career. But what's been more impressive this year than his interceptions has been his ability to shut down opposing wideouts.

Bland has allowed the second-lowest passer rating this season (37.0), only behind New Orleans Saints cornerback Paulson Adebo (33.0). That's how elite the Cowboys corner has been all year, and that'll need to continue with Diggs out for the year.

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