DALLAS – Despite another season of unfulfilled playoff expectations, the Cowboys had several players produce career years in 2021. One was cornerback Trevon Diggs, who led the NFL with 11 interceptions (ran two back for touchdowns) and finished second with 21 passes defended.

Diggs garnered first-team All-Pro honors for his play, but not everyone was sold on his big year. Pro Football Focus, who has often been critical of the Cowboys’ top corner because of the formula they use to judge his position, put out a piece last December trying to justify why his low grade didn’t reflect his 11 interceptions.

PFF ranked the top outside cornerbacks around the NFL earlier this month. Diggs came in at No. 21, placing him in tier four. However, on Monday, PFF listed the top corners in terms of press coverage in 2021. Metrics such as reps, targets, target percentage, open target percentage, and yards allowed were used to come up with the final score for each player.

Diggs, surprisingly, landed at No. 1, just ahead of Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

“Much ado has been made already about Diggs’ All-Pro 2021 season and how his gaudy interception total may not reflect his true coverage ability. The Athletic’s Diante Lee, formerly of PFF, detailed how Diggs’ massive frame — his wingspan is over 6-foot-6 — and ability to maintain top speed allow him to successfully employ a jump-press technique. This is, of course, a risky endeavor and shows up in his low PFF grade. But considering the Cowboys’ middling 2022 schedule and Diggs’ youth, he should still be successful even if he breaks up fewer passes.”

In his 28 career games with the Cowboys, Diggs has hauled in 14 interceptions and defended 35 passes. Before joining the Cowboys, Diggs had only played the cornerback position full-time since 2017, his sophomore season at Alabama.

As a former wide receiver, Diggs knows the nuances and tendencies of the position which help him as a cornerback. To assist in that and keep his skills sharp, he trains with his older brother Stefon Diggs, an All-Pro wide receiver of the Buffalo Bills. Also, Diggs has the luxury of being guided by Cowboys’ defensive backs coach Al Harris whose been with the team since 2020 and made a few Pro Bowls during his playing days with the Green Bay Packers.

Regardless of what metric is used to judge cornerbacks, Diggs is one of the NFL’s best. The encouraging thing for the Cowboys is that Diggs is already as good as he is with limited experience so the more he masters the intricate details of the cornerback position the higher the ceiling will be for his potential.

Feature image via Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports