FRISCO, Texas – As we saw on HBO's "Hard Knocks" last summer, Trevon Diggs' son Aaiden is his biggest fan.
Maybe his most demanding coach, too.
"He always messes with me every time someone catches a ball on me, every time someone scores on me," Diggs said. "Any play that I gave up, he remembers it and makes sure I know."
The Cowboys All-Pro cornerback is his own toughest critic, though.
During last year's training camp, Diggs was asked what he needed to improve from his 2020 rookie season in which he became the only rookie defender in Cowboys history to lead the team in pass breakups (15) and interceptions (3) outright.
"I got my hands on 14 balls. I ended up with not 14 interceptions. So that's a problem," he said bluntly.
Diggs had watched film of the entire season and counted up those mistakes. Safe to say he corrected most of them. In 2021, he tied Everson Walls' franchise record for interceptions in a single season (11). That's the fourth highest total by any player in the Super Bowl era.
Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors followed, and as he prepares for his third season, the 2020 second-round draft pick is now considered one of the premier defensive players in the entire league.
How to top a historic season? Stay hungry.
"I just feel I've got to improve my game all around," Diggs said Thursday as the Cowboys continued their first week of voluntary offseason workouts at The Star. "Just being a complete corner, just being that shutdown corner. I feel like I'm going to do everything I can working this offseason to take it to the next step and the next level."
To Diggs' point, 2021 wasn't completely flawless. Fact: Cornerbacks give up plays, especially in today's NFL where rule tweaks have fostered an unprecedented passing game boom. At times, opposing receivers countered Diggs' aggressiveness and special anticipation skills with double moves for deep gains.
Still, Diggs delivered a very consistent season in coverage. Quarterbacks targeted him 99 times last year, the third-most of all defensive backs in 2021, yet he allowed the 10th-lowest passer rating (71.7) among cornerbacks who played at least 400 coverage snaps (652), according to Pro Football Focus.
The impact of his 11 interceptions can't be overstated, either. They led to a total of 43 points by the Cowboys' offense over 10 games. A large percentage of NFL games -- sometimes over half -- are decided by a touchdown or less during the course of a season. Takeaways that lead to points have a huge impact on winning.
Diggs and the Cowboys' defense took a step forward in 2021, leading the league with 34 takeaways and jumping from 28th to seventh in scoring defense (29.6 to 21.7).
"I feel like this defense can go really far," he said. "I'm really excited and proud of what we did last year and I feel like that was a good start to build on. We lost a couple pieces, but we've got to fill those spots and keep going. We've got a good base, a good ground, a good foundation and we've just got to build off that. And we've got the guys to do it, so we've just got to get it done."