Crimson Tide connections help Trevon Diggs roll for Cowboys in Week 3 win

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Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs saw plenty of familiar faces Monday night at AT&T Stadium, even if several of them were wearing the other color jersey.

On several plays during the 41-21 win by Dallas over Philadelphia, though, it felt to Diggs like his college practices during the Crimson Tide’s 2018 national championship season. Once again, he was covering wide receiver DeVonta Smith, with quarterback Jalen Hurts working the pocket. And on the Eagles’ opening drive of the second half, it was Diggs who got the upper hand, stepping in front of Hurts’s pass for the pick and streaking 59 yards with it to the end zone.

“I had read Jalen,” Diggs explained after the Cowboys home-opening victory. “The receiver had a short split, so I was expecting him to run an out. I just made a good break; he ended up slipping. Interception.”

If it seemed like maybe that’s the way it had played out a time or two in Tuscaloosa, Diggs confirmed it with a you-must-be-kidding-me tone.

“Yeah, for sure.”

The second-year rising star admitted that his extensive track record against both Hurts and Smith helped him in coverage duties Monday night.

“It did,” Diggs laughed. “It did. I was seeing them every day. At Alabama, we’d go 1s-on-1s. So we’re competing every day. DeVonta: he knew my moves, he knew what I wanted to do. And I knew what he wanted to do, so it’s fair game. It was fun.”

Diggs kept things professional even after getting the best of Smith, but says he saved a few friendly comments for Hurts.

“No, DeVonta’s real quiet. He doesn’t talk a lot of trash. But I let Jalen know. That’s my guy.”

Following the pick-six, the trio’s former coach shed some light on the unique skill set that has helped Diggs get off to a fast start in just his 15th game as a pro. Nick Saban joined Peyton and Eli Manning on ESPN2’s broadcast.

“Appreciate him for saying that,” Diggs said in response after being told of Saban’s comments. “He trained me good. That’s who converted me into a corner. He does teach that.”

Diggs has learned well. He snagged three interceptions in his entire rookie season; he’s already matched that in the first three contests of 2021.

Considering that torrid start, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that he’s only been playing his position for four years. Even he admits he’s still learning the ropes.

“I’m a new corner, so I have to put in that work,” the 24-year-old said. “A lot of these other corners have a lot of years on me. I have to put in a lot of work just to be good or even better than them. So I’ve got to put in those hours, I’ve got to put in that time.”

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy sang the praises of his work ethic during his postgame remarks.

“So competitive,” McCarthy said in his press conference. “That’s who we see every day at practice, really since he’s been here. He’s clearly on a roll right now. He’s in a zone.

“I think, like a lot of these guys in the NFL, it’s the second year; now you know what to expect. I would say his conditioning and all that- his conditioning was good last year- but he’s better physically prepared to play this year. He’s had an offseason, a full offseason [of] instructional as far as what the defense is, so I think he’s seeing it clean. And the guy’s got phenomenal hand-eye coordination, just the way he breaks on the ball. He’s got as fine a [set of] hands as I’ve seen in the back end in a long time.”

In fact, even old-school Cowboys fans haven’t seen this kind of output from a Dallas defensive back in a while.

Diggs is impressing the longtime fans and the younger set alike. But none more so than his son Aaiden. One of the breakout stars of the HBO series Hard Knocks, the precocious four-year-old is not only Trevon’s biggest supporter, he may, in fact, be the reason Diggs is on such an interception roll.

“He’s been very excited,” Diggs told reporters of Aaiden. “He tells me to get one every week. I’ve got to keep my promise.”

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