ARLINGTON, Tx – The Dallas Cowboys are in the driver’s seat of the NFC East after beating the Philadelphia Eagles 41-21 Monday night. The offense controlled the game from start to finish and the defense never allowed Jalen Hurts to get comfortable in the pocket as he threw a pair of interceptions on the night.
One of those interceptions came from 2020 second-round draft pick Trevon Diggs who returned it for a 59-yard touchdown. He currently leads the team in interceptions with three. On the other side, 2020 first-round draft pick CeeDee Lamb leads the team in receiving yards through three-game (251).
The question: How did Dallas manage to draft arguably their most explosive weapons in one draft?
CeeDee Lamb – R1, P17
Lamb was arguably the most talented receiver in his class coming out of Oklahoma. He was the Houston Touchdown Club’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2016 after he recorded 2,032 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns on 98 receptions (he also returned three punts for touchdowns). The four-star recruit became a Freshman All-American his first year with the Sooners, starting 13 of 14 games played and slaughtering the school record for a freshman with 807 receiving yards (46 receptions, 17.5 per, seven TD).
Lamb earned honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from the league’s coaches as a sophomore, leading OU with 11 receiving touchdowns and covering 1,158 yards on his 65 catches (17.8 per). He took over punt return duties in 2018, as well (17-218-12.8). Lamb cemented his status as one of the top receivers in the country in 2019, garnering first-team Associated Press All-American, Biletnikoff Award finalist, and first-team All-Big 12 honors. He led the Sooners with 62 receptions for 1,327 yards (21.4 per, tops in the FBS among those with 40+ receptions) and 14 touchdowns in 13 starts.
He was the third receiver taken in last year’s draft behind Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy. To this point, Ruggs and Jeudy have a combined 95 receptions – Lamb has 92, which is second among second-year receivers behind Justin Jefferson (108). I’m sure he doesn’t need a disclaimer that Lamb was forced to play without Dak Prescott for 11 games last season. Lamb is also second behind Jefferson in yards with 1,186 among sophomore receivers.
Trevon Diggs – R2, P51
Diggs was my personal favorite at corner entering the draft. He was a two-time All-Washington D.C. Metro pick at receiver during his time at Gaithersburg, Maryland’s Avalon School. The four-star recruit played offense (11-88-8.0, one TD), defense (5 tackles, one forced fumble), and special teams (7-166-23.7 kick returns, 13-130-10.0 punt returns) in 15 games as a true freshman for the Tide. Diggs shifted full-time to defense in 2017 (six tackles, three pass breakups, one start in 13 games played) while keeping his return duties (2-74-37.0 kick returns, 18-154-8.6 punt returns).
He was a full-time starter for Nick Saban’s defense in 2018 (20 tackles, one interception, six pass breakups in six games) but was lost midway through the year to a broken foot. Diggs started 12 contests as a senior, picking up third-team Associated Press All-American and second-team All-SEC accolades after intercepting three passes and tying for the team lead with eight pass breakups (also posting 37 tackles and two fumble recoveries, including a 100-yard score). Another of Diggs’ brothers, Mar’Sean, was a defensive back at Iowa Western CC and UAB. His father, Aron, passed away from heart failure in 2008.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban said Monday night on air that his ball skills shouldn’t be overlooked. Diggs was the eighth cornerback taken in last year’s draft.
- Jeff Okudah (1,3)
- CJ Henderson (1,9)
- AJ Tearell (1,16)
- Damon Arnette (1,24)
- Noah Igbinoghene (1,31)
- Jeff Gladney (1,32)
- Jaylon Johnson (2,50)
Those seven corners have a combined four interceptions. Diggs has six. He already has more career interceptions than former Cowboys corner Byron Jones.
Diggs ranked first amongst all corners in PFF grade in week three. He’s matched up against Mike Evans, Keenan Allen and Devonte Smith and has yet to allow those receivers to make their impact on the game. It’s a small sample size, but Diggs trajectory puts him on an All-Pro level. His matchup against DJ Moore Sunday will be another opportunity to test where exactly he stacks at in his young career.
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