The play of Trevon Diggs has become a much maligned talking point as of late. Due to a recent article posted by PFF many fans and media members alike are starting to question rather Diggs is worthy of his designation as a top corner in the league. While he has amassed a large quantity of doubters the official numbers leave little doubt that Diggs is one of the better defensive backs in the league.
Did Diggs really allow over 1000 yards? Does yardage matter?
PFF states that during the 2021 season Trevon Diggs allowed 1068 yards and 5 touchdowns. While I am a fan of PFF these numbers are inaccurate according to the official statistics kept by the NFL. Diggs official numbers for the 2021 season are 907 yards allowed, a completion percentage of 52.4% when targeted and 4 TDs allowed.
To put these numbers in perspective lets compare them to other corners who are considered to be elite. In 2021 Marshon Lattimore allowed 826 yards, allowed a completion percentage of 57.5%, and allowed 7 TDs on the year.
These numbers were still good enough to earn Lattimore a pro bowl selection. One must also remember that these total yardage marks can be very misleading. Over the course of a 16 game season the 907 yards Diggs allowed breaks down to roughly only 57 yards per game (56.6% to be exact). In that context nobody would say holding a receiver to 57 yards is a bad outing for a corner. The overall number also does not account for instances where defenses are playing prevent and are allowing short completions underneath. Gaging a corner’s play on yards allowed alone is a very flawed method of evaluating production.
More than an interception machine
Trevon Diggs had a record setting year intercepting the ball. For the 2021 Diggs tallied 11 interceptions, the most in the NFL since 1981. While his interception total is what has grabbed headlines his coverage skills were much better than advertised. Diggs ended the season with 21 passes defensed, good for second in the league behind only JC Jackson’s 23.
Even more surprising is that Diggs finished as the number 1 rated press coverage corner in all of football for the 2021 season.
By no stretch of the imagination did Diggs have a bad season and the fact that this is even a conversation is alarming. The extra possessions that Diggs provided with his interceptions were one of the driving forces behind the team’s 12-5 record and while his critics will nitpick yardage it was inconsequential to his overall play as his ability to create turnovers trumped the measly 57 yards per game allowed. Diggs deserved his all pro selection and has a chance to add to his resume this up coming season.