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Progress Report

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Progress Report: Trevon Diggs' Historic 2nd Season


(Editor's Note: With over 20 players set for unrestricted free agency, the Cowboys' roster is destined to look much different in 2022. Still, a large percentage of their roster is already in place, and they'll have plenty of work to do to improve last season's 12-5 record. In the coming weeks, the staff of will evaluate those players already under contract, examining their past performance and future outlook. Today, we continue the series with cornerback Trevon Diggs.)

The Good: How about 11 interceptions, tying the great Everson Walls' single-season franchise record and tying for third-most by an NFL player in a season since the 1970 merger? Diggs had at least one pick in 10 of 16 starts and became the first NFL player with 11 interceptions and at least 20 pass breakups since PBUs became an official stat in 1994. In just his second season, the former second-round pick emerged as one of the league's premier ball-hawking cornerbacks, earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors.

The Bad: The analytics world hasn't always been Diggs' best friend. Pro Football Focus ranked Diggs 80th among NFL cornerbacks with a 58.5 defensive rating for the 2021 season. That's a far cry from Diggs' AP All-Pro status, which meant he was voted one of the league's top corners (alongside the Rams' Jalen Ramsey). All this has led to quite a Twitter debate about Diggs' true efficiency level. Observers with a more critical eye, like PFF, point to the big plays Diggs allowed last season — and indeed, opponents were able to catch him on double moves in certain situations.

Best Of 2021: Probably the Cowboys' 36-28 victory over Carolina in Week 2 -- Diggs' only multi-interception game of the season. He became the first Cowboy since 1985 to record an interception in four straight games and the first NFL player since 2009 with five picks in the first four games of a season.

Contract Consideration: Diggs will be eligible for an extension after next season, when he completes the third year of his rookie deal. For 2022, he's set for a $1.18 million base salary, according to Spotrac.

What's Next: How about 12 interceptions? Topping 11 would be a challenging encore, but Diggs' ability to match up exclusively with the opponents' best receiver is a rare skill, picks or no picks. Like all ball-hawking corners, he must strike a balance between anticipation and freelancing in coverage, because teams will try to attack that aggressiveness with double moves on routes. But the bottom line is Diggs accounted for almost a third of the Cowboys' league-leading 34 takeaways, and according to PFF, he allowed the 10th lowest passer-rating (71.7) in the league despite seeing the third-most targets by opposing quarterbacks (99). A foundational player for the Cowboys' defense moving forward.

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