The Dallas Cowboys have been one of the best defenses in the NFL over the last two years. In a rare feat, Dan Quinn’s troops have led the league in forced turnovers in back-to-back seasons.
Part of Dallas’ ability to get takeaways at such a high rate is because they’ve had a strong group of cornerbacks who take advantage when the ball hits their hands. It’s a position that’s gotten even better with the addition of veteran CB Stephon Gilmore, who gives the Cowboys one of the best tandems in the league, along with Trevon Diggs.
Dallas’ dynamic duo stands tall among the rest. Pro Football Focus ranks both starting corners for the Cowboys inside the top 10 in their rankings of the top 32 cornerbacks ahead of the 2023 season. There are other teams who have a pair of CBs on the list, but no other team has two in the top 10.
Stephon Gilmore (6th)
In a strange twist, the site ranked Gilmore ahead of his new teammate. The Cowboys traded for Gilmore to give Diggs the best CB across from him since he was drafted in 2020.
Here’s what PFF had to say about Gilmore:
6. STEPHON GILMORE, DALLAS COWBOYS
There was a stretch where Gilmore was the best cornerback in football, and while that may be in the past now, he showed in each of his past two stops that he can still play at a very high level. For the Colts, Gilmore recorded an 81.1 PFF coverage grade and allowed an 82.6 passer rating from 82 targets. He now gets the benefit of playing opposite Trevon Diggs in Dallas in 2023.
After two injury-riddled seasons, Gilmore returned to form last year with the Colts. The veteran CB had two interceptions and 11 passes defensed on his way to becoming one of the top corners in the league again while playing in at least 16 games for the first time since 2019.
In 11 seasons, Gilmore has 29 interceptions and at least two picks in nine of his last 10 seasons. If he stays on the field, he’ll get a chance to beat his career-high of six interceptions playing across from Diggs.
Trevon Diggs (8th)
The league’s top ballhawk comes in at No. 8 on the list. In his first three years in NFL, Diggs is tied for the lead in interceptions with 17 over that span. After his ridiculous sophomore season where he had 11 interceptions, Diggs had just three in 2022, which matched his rookie year number. However, Diggs remains one of the most dangerous CBs for quarterbacks to test.
8. TREVON DIGGS, DALLAS COWBOYS
Diggs didn’t have the same gaudy interception stats in 2022 as he did the year before, but he was a better overall player. Over the past two seasons, he has given up some big plays but is a ballhawk and a dangerous cornerback to test. His play may see a boost this season with Stephon Gilmore on the other side keeping defenses honest.
Having Gilmore across from him should mean Diggs will be thrown at more heading into his contract year, which could mean he’ll see his interception total rise again. Aside from the turnovers, Diggs’ play gets better as he continues to learn the position, and he gets beat less frequently.
Diggs’ best play could be coming with Gilmore on the opposite side and a new contract on the line.
Complete Top 10
Darius Slay, Philadelphia Eagles
Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos
Stephon Gilmore, Dallas Cowboys
Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys