OXNARD, Calif. – Trevon Diggs counted them up after the season.
Not the number of plays he made as a rookie. All the plays he missed.
"I got my hands on 14 balls. I ended up with not 14 interceptions. So that's a problem," the second-year cornerback said.
Diggs' first year was hardly disappointing. He became the only rookie defender in Cowboys history to lead the team in pass breakups (15) and interceptions (3) outright. The Cowboys didn't track pass breakups before 1984, but it's still impressive that he ranked first in both categories despite missing four games with a foot injury.
Diggs also had the highest Pro Football Focus grade among Cowboys cornerbacks in the regular rotation (62.7).
There were growing pains, too. Opponents targeted him 76 times, second most on the team. He gave up some big plays. He had the temporary stint on injured reserve.
But the Cowboys were impressed by Diggs' competitive spirit and toughness, as well as his ball skills.
"Every play is all out. He just brings an intensity to it," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's so instinctive. His ball skills are unique. When the ball's in the air, he's like another receiver out there."
Diggs, a second-round draft pick in 2020, once again projects as a starter at cornerback. His one-on-one matchups with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, the first-round pick in last year's class, have been must-see here in Oxnard.
"We're going to compete always," Lamb said. "We came in together. We hold each other to a high standard."
They're keeping a tally of big plays against each other. Lamb had a one-handed catch on Diggs in Saturday's practice. Diggs responded with a pass breakup on another rep, same route.
"It's tied up. It's 1-1," he said."He (CeeDee) is a heck of a player. He pushes me. I need that."
Diggs dug into the film this offseason, trying to gain a better understanding of opposing offenses and their tendencies. He also went over all those missed takeaways.
"I dropped a lot of them. If I could get my hands on it, I could catch it, I feel like," he said. "I feel like all of them were interception opportunities.
"Any time I touch the ball I want an interception. Coming out here, just practicing it, and just keep going."