Things couldn't possibly be going any better for the Dallas Cowboys in the 2020 NFL Draft. First, they grabbed a falling CeeDee Lamb -- a Consensus All-American and arguably the best wide receiver in the country -- with the 17th-overall pick, adding him to an offense . Selecting Lamb meant they had to turn their back on their defensive needs though, namely cornerback, EDGE and safety -- but head coach Mike McCarthy made it known fairly quickly he wasn't concerned. He turned out to be absolutely correct because without needing to move one inch forward of the 51st-overall pick, there was cornerback Trevon Diggs, who is now heading to Dallas to join Lamb in being yet another jackpot grab for the Cowboys.
Diggs, a First Team All-SEC talent and former wide receiver (which helps him pre-empt routes to a degree traditional defensive backs could only hope for), isn't simply a player who looks to keep passes from being completed. He's a hyper-physical DB that can thrive in man coverage but also drop back in zone. The former is where the Cowboys can truly utilize his skillset though because Diggs earns his meals in press coverage. A lengthy yet fluid prospect, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound former Alabama star is a nightmare to scheme against on slants, fades and in the red zone.
And when it comes to breaking up passes, well, he'd rather get his head around and take the ball away instead. Diggs reeled in three interceptions in his final season with Roll Tide, and he added a defensive touchdown for good measure.
"I don't want pass breakups. I want interceptions," Diggs said, following his selection by the Cowboys.
For Diggs, landing in Dallas is the culmination of a family dream. His father was a diehard Cowboys fan and while his brother, Stefon, is now with the Buffalo Bills after having proven himself one of the top wideouts in the league in his time with the Minnesota Vikings -- even the elder Diggs is thrilled to see little brother put a Star on his helmet.
And for baby brother, when his phone lit up with a 972 area code, it was all he could do to contain his emotions.
"I was star struck," Diggs said when the call came in. "That's Jerry Jones. Words can't explain it, the feeling when my heart kind of dropped. ...My dad was a Cowboys fan before he passed. I'm kind of living out his dream."
As it stands, the Cowboys are living out theirs as well.
Landing Diggs in the middle of the second round is a fairy tale for them, considering their analytics team told them they had only a one percent chance of seeing it happen. They had a first-round grade on him and were prepared to grab defensive lineman Neville Gallimore instead, considering Diggs should've been long gone before they went on the clock -- in their estimation. But much like Lamb still being on the board at 17, the Cowboys found themselves staring at another "blinking light" when it came time to give commissioner Roger Goodell their decision.
They'd wisely opt for Diggs over Gallimore but were fortuitous enough to see Gallimore fall to them with the 82nd-overall pick, which continues their good fortune in the draft.
Resolving the exit of Byron Jones in free agency was not simply key -- it was mandatory. Jones is an All-Pro who established himself as one of the best shutdown corners in the NFL when he was moved to the position full-time in 2018. The one and only knock to Jones' game was a lack of takeaways, having logged only two interceptions in his career and none in the last two seasons. That's not an issue the club will see Diggs struggle with, and while he still has room to grow and polish his craft, an elite pass rush up front combines with a potentially stout linebacker corps and an upgraded safety unit (assuming Ha Ha Clinton-Dix returns to form under McCarthy) to make for a perfect fit for Diggs.
As a longer, more physically imposing corner who dominates when not asked to carry a receiver 40 yards downfield, it's almost literally a match made in football heaven. The film on Diggs shows far more positives than negatives, and the negatives he has are usually more of the risk-reward variety. For example, because he's a ballhawk, he looks to jump routes, and that might cost him a time or two. This is why having strong safety play behind him is key, to allow him to employ the aggression the Cowboys thirst for at the position.
And combining him with another ballhawk in Jourdan Lewis should pay off in spades.
All in all, Diggs is a fantastic prospect who could've easily been a first-round grab for a CB-needy team, but a run on wide receivers and eventually safeties pushed him to Dallas -- the team that fell in love with him early in the pre-draft process. Draft insiders argue that although Jeffrey Okudah and C.J. Henderson are more polished right now, Diggs has the best ball skills of any cornerback who entered draft weekend. That's not a small compliment by any stretch of the imagination, and he'll now get a chance to prove them correct on the biggest stage in football.
The Cowboys, well, they can Digg it.