2022 could be viewed as a bad year for cornerback Trevon Diggs. After a historic 2021 campaign in which the Cowboys ballhawk racked up 11 interceptions and 21 pass deflections, Diggs averaged just three interceptions and 14 pass deflections the following season.
Through his small fault, the opportunities just didn’t exist as they had before. Dallas’ turning door at the cornerback across from him was too tempting for opposing quarterbacks to resist. This all potentially changes with the addition of Stephon Gilmore.
Diggs’ goals declined significantly, falling from 103 in 2021 to 85 in 2022. While Diggs has been known for biting a fake from time to time and leaving his receiver open, the NFL learned that there were consequences too had to target him. Even with occasional lapses in coverage, he proved again and again that he could make up ground and make spectacular moves on the ball.
Opponents apparently preferred to target the inconsequential side of the field. Anthony Brown, the Cowboys’ 12-game starter on the opposite border, was targeted 87 times and never made a single interception. It’s safe to say that a simple risk-reward analysis has led most offensive coordinators away from Diggs.
Diggs was targeted just five times per game compared to Brown who was targeted 7.25 times per game. Per snap, DaRon Bland was targeted the most of the top three with a goal every 8.37 snaps. Brown finished second with a goal per 9.4 snaps and Diggs finished last with a goal every 13.1 snaps.
With Brown lost for the season, things only got worse for Diggs. He was only targeted 4.7 times per game in the seven games after that (including the playoffs), and was never officially targeted once in the divisional round.
With all due respect to the cornerbacks playing opposite Diggs, on the other hand, it was just too easy. That will no longer be the case.
When the Cowboys traded one of their fifth-round equalizer picks for Gilmore, they made a massive upgrade at CB2. Even at the ripe old age of 32, Gilmore shows a definite leap in man-covering and ball-peddling ability.
The former All-Pro has never gone an entire season without an interception and is just one season away from the Pro Bowl. After a rebound year, Gilmore will be a force opposing quarterbacks will no doubt respect.
Will teams now avoid Gilmore and suddenly start targeting Diggs as a result?
Probably not. Diggs is still the same dangerous player he was the last two seasons, and the addition of Gilmore won’t drop Diggs to No. 2 on the Fear-O-Meter. But it will make targeting opposing pass attacks less of a breeze, which in theory should result in more opportunities for the Cowboys’ young star.
The addition of Gilmore was a huge step for the Dallas defense, and no single player benefits more than Diggs.
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Source : sports.yahoo.com