Trevon Diggs signed a five-year contract extension worth $97 million on Tuesday, making him the fifth-highest-paid cornerback in the league in terms of both average annual value ($19 million per year) and guaranteed money ($42 million)
Nobody has more interceptions than Diggs since he entered the league (17), thanks to a season with 11 interceptions in 2021.
He's gained a bit of a reputation as a risk-reward player, too. He allowed the most pass yards (2,362) and third-most touchdowns (16) as the primary defender in coverage by any player in the last three seasons.
Now his contract didn't reset the CB market, but his new deal and the above numbers beg the question, exactly how good is he?
It depends who you ask.
He ranked among the top 10 cornerbacks in ESPN reporter Jeremy Fowler's poll of executives, coaches and scouts in each of the last two years (10th in 2022 and eighth in 2023).
Pro Football Focus graded him as the 42nd-best cornerback among 118 qualifiers in 2022. That was the best ranking in his brief career.
His coverage numbers (tracked by PFF) also fall short of the top tier corners, and are league average in terms of completion rate and yards per attempt allowed.
Pass coverage last season among notable CBs
Yards per att
His best comparison right now might be Xavien Howard. Another perennial Pro Bowl CB known for his risk-reward style. Both press corners have allowed stunningly similar numbers in coverage over the last three seasons.
Pass coverage in last three seasons
Just how close is the comparison? In terms of players who make a lot of big plays and allow their fair share, Howard and Diggs are on an island of their own. The scatterplot below looks at qualified defensive backs in terms of their interceptions and pass yards allowed in the last three seasons. Nobody is close to Howard and Diggs in the upper-right corner, indicating their propensity to give up a lot of both.
The biggest difference is, Howard is 30 and Diggs is 24. The Cowboys corner is still evolving.
Remember too, Diggs switched from wide receiver to cornerback in his sophomore season at Alabama.
His growth was evident in 2022. He played less press coverage last season (32 percent compared with 41 percent in 2021) and gave up fewer big plays, but also made fewer plays (three interceptions).
His five 20-yard completions allowed in 2022 were the exact same number as Sauce Gardner, who many have crowned as the top corner in the NFL today.
Trevon Diggs in coverage in last two seasons
Press coverage rate
20+ yard completions
Yards per attempt
The growth didn't come without growing pains though.
He allowed three touchdowns where he either gambled or was beat on a double move last season. Seven of the 16 career touchdowns he's allowed were on those types of plays.
Here are those three from 2022:
He was caught cheating on another route while losing his Robert Woods on a short pass here.
He was burned on this slant-and-go with Matt Ryan also selling the pump fake.
In conclusion, the league's coaches and scouts tout Diggs as a top-10 corner, and his new contract would support that. The numbers (and some tape) show that's not true, as he's yet to trade in his reputation as a ball hawk for that of a shutdown corner.
For now, he's one of the better corners and playmakers in the league, one with talent and upside. It'll be interesting to see if he improves over the course of his new, lucrative contract.