The New York Giants have invested heavily in the cornerback position over the last several years. But as they change to their third defensive scheme in four years, we can’t be sure that they are done investing in the position. There are a wide variety of ways to scheme a secondary, ranging from an aggressive press-man scheme to flexible and opportunistic zone schemes.
Zone defenses get a bit of a bad rap among football fans, but they have underpinned some of the best defenses in NFL history, from the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70’s, to the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, to the Seattle Seahawks “Legion Of Boom.”
Alabama corner Trevon Diggs — younger brother of Buffalo Bills receiver Stefon Diggs — would likely fit well in a defense inspired by the Seahawks. And since we don’t actually know what kind of defense Patrick Graham will call for the Giants, it makes sense to explore all options.
Prospect: Trevon Diggs (CB, Alabama)
Games watched: vs. South Carolina (2019), vs. LSU (2019), vs. Mississippi State (2019), vs. Auburn (2019)
Red flags: Broken foot (2018)
Games played (starts): 44
Tackles for a loss: 0.5
Forced fumbles: 2
Passes defensed: 17
Games played: 12
Tackles for a loss: 0.5
Forced fumbles: 0
Passes defensed: 8
Best: Size, communication, awareness, ball skills
Worst: Hand discipline, lower body fluidity, tackling
Projection: A starting cornerback in a Cover 3 scheme.
Alabama corner Trevon Diggs has very good size and length for the cornerback position at the NFL level. Diggs is an active communicator both before and after the snap, relaying information to, and directing, his teammates in the secondary. He shows a good understanding of offensive passing concepts and very good discipline in coverage.
Diggs drops quickly and smoothly into coverage zones, getting good position and leverage on receivers to influence their routes. He does a good job of staying aware while in his zones, locating and attacking the ball at the catch point or triggering downhill at underneath plays.
Diggs makes good use of his size and length in press-man coverage with a quick, hard jam at the beginning of the rep. He is big enough to avoid being bullied by most receivers and is capable of disrupting most releases. Diggs shows enough long speed to stay in phase and run with most receivers after disrupting their release.
He is a competitive player and a stout run defender on the play-side. Diggs sets a firm edge and is able to stand up to most blockers on the perimeter with good leverage. He is able to shed blocks and make plays on the ball carrier, and is a willing tackler. Diggs also shows some upside as a blitzer from the cornerback position. He times his rushes well and has a good closing burst to pressure the passer
Diggs is limited in man coverage by some lower-body stiffness which hinders him against quick-breaking or come-back routes. He also lacks elite recovery speed if his initial jam fails to disrupt the receiver. Diggs can also get overly physical in man coverage, which could lead to defensive pass interference calls at the NFL level. And while he is a willing tackler, he tends to try and drag down or shoulder-check ball carriers, which can lead to yards after contact.
Overall Grade: 6.5 - Has a combination of traits that should make him a good starter very early in his career. However, he has a definite scheme limitation. Late first or early second round value. [Grading Scale]
Trevon Diggs projects best as a starting cornerback in a Cover-3 scheme. While he has the size teams typically look for in man or press-man corners, Diggs doesn’t have the elite athleticism or lower-body fluidity needed to thrive in that role.
However, he is very well suited to play in a “Seattle style” Cover 3 scheme. He has enough athleticism to turn and run with receivers with a slight cushion, along with a good closing burst and the length to challenge or disrupt at the catch point. Diggs also has the football IQ and communication skills to thrive in a communication-heavy coverage scheme.
Diggs has enough ability in man coverage to allow his defensive coordinator to call a variety of shells, as well as disguise the defense’s intentions with a press-bail look.
He will, however, need to invest time and energy in improving his tackling. Diggs is a willing defender, but has a tendency to tackle high and try to drag ball carriers down or go for a shoulder check. He would be a much more effective player if he were a consistent form tackler.
And any team influenced by the Seahawks’ “Legion Of Boom” should be interested in Diggs as a cornerback. Given his size, awareness in zone coverage, and communication skills, some teams might view him as a candidate to transition to safety.