Yahoo Sports' top 2020 NFL draft prospects, No. 30: Alabama CB Trevon Diggs

Yahoo Sports


Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports
Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports

30. Alabama CB Trevon Diggs

6-foot-1, 205 pounds 

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 6.00

TL;DR scouting report: Long-levered, well-built press corner who hasn’t reached his ceiling and needs technique refinement

The skinny: A 4-star Rivals recruit as a wide receiver, Diggs committed to Alabama and played right away as a freshman. Primarily playing special teams as a true freshman, Diggs also earned limited reps as a receiver and defensive back. He caught 11 passes for 88 yards and one TD; made five tackles and one forced fumble; and returned seven kickoffs for 166 yards and 13 punts for 130 yards in 15 games. 

In 2017, Diggs made the full-time switch to receiver with his special-teams duties. That season he made six tackles and three pass breakups, with one start on defense, and returned two kickoffs for 74 yards and 18 punts for 154 yards in 13 games.

Diggs earned a starting CB role in 2018 and was off to a good start (20 tackles, one interception, six pass breakups in six games) before suffering a broken foot that ended his season. In 2019, Diggs was named third-team AP All-America and second-team all-SEC. He had 37 tackles, three interceptions, a team-high eight passes defended and two fumble recoveries, including a 100-yard TD on one.

Diggs, who turns 22 in September, skipped the bowl game vs. Michigan and declared early for the 2020 NFL draft. He attended the NFL scouting combine but skipped all of the athletic testing.

Upside: Physically blessed, rocked-up corner. You can’t draw them up much better in a laboratory. He has moldable traits. Diggs’ ideal arm length of 32 3/4 inches puts him in the 90th percentile among corners. Nice-sized hands (9 3/8 inches) and former wide receiver skills. Didn’t test at combine but reportedly has hit 4.4s in the 40-yard dash. Displayed outstanding strength in press and rerouting receivers, as well as in tackling.

Converted WR who possesses ball skills. He turned in a few nice INTs, plus a scoop and score. He has an innate understanding of route combinations. Short-area quickness is solid for his size. Diggs also has nice burst to close fast on in-breaking routes. Read-and-react skills look more polished on short and intermediate routes. Watch here as Diggs plays through the Auburn receiver and beats him to the spot to knock down the pass:

Watch Diggs break on the route before the receiver does.
Watch Diggs break on the route before the receiver does.

Terrific in press and zone. Offers scheme diversity — asked to handle advanced-level coverages under Nick Saban and Co. Can be a matchup corner used to take away bigger, more physical receivers. Eyes were strong in zone. He looked through receivers to read quarterbacks’ intentions.

Played left corner (boundary) predominantly in 2019 but has experience lining up on both sides. Lined up in multiple spots on occasion (see 2019 Tennessee, Auburn games) and has good experience on special teams — has return experience and possesses gunner and jammer potential. Averaged more than 100 special teams snaps per season and played on every core unit except field-goal/extra-point team.

Could have a second act as a safety on the back half of his career. Spent time in practice working at Bama’s “Star” position, which has been manned primarily by Minkah Fitzpatrick and 2020 prospect Xavier McKinney the past few years. Rare three-way player in SEC as true freshman, a reflection of his terrific skills. 

Flashes competitive nature and feisty side. Good hitter who seeks contact. Smart, aware player. Showed improvement in most areas and appears to be coachable and tough-minded.

Downside: Scouts are split on him. Some say he can’t be more than a zone or press-man corner. With average at best recovery speed, he struggles against fast receivers vertically. Didn’t stay close to burners or more shifty wideouts.

His hips look wooden at times. He’s currently more of an athletic wonder than a finished product. Diggs has gotten away with poor technique at times because of his athleticism, something that he won’t be able to do in the NFL. 

Body position and footwork can be sloppy and inconsistent. Could use refinement of his overall fundamentals. Overcommits on press coverage and will lose the leverage battle or get off-balance. Gets panicky and grabby when beaten. Sophisticated route runners will trouble him — too many false steps and reliance on contact slowing them down.

Surprising trouble locating the ball downfield — will turn head too early or too late. WR skills don’t always translate, and body positioning seems to be worse downfield or on longer-developing routes. Watch here as LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase completely turns Diggs around for his one TD catch of the 2019 season:

Diggs gets all kinds of turned around on this vertical route.
Diggs gets all kinds of turned around on this vertical route.

Tackling is solid some games, disappointing in others (see 2019 Southern Miss, LSU games). Saban has questioned his confidence at various stages. He allows emotions to overtake him at times and can be his own worst critic. Maturity was a concern early in his career, but scouts say they’ve seen some improvement in his accountability based on reports from program sources.

Best-suited destination: Diggs would be an ideal fit as a press-man or zone corner (Cover 2 and 3 predominantly) who can be a matchup piece to handle bigger and more physical receivers. Pairing him with a savvy, veteran corner or a nurturing DBs coach also might bring out the best in Diggs in the long term.

Among the teams that could be interested in his services: Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Bears, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts.

Did you know: Diggs is the brother of Buffalo Bills WR Stefon Diggs. His other brother, Mar’Sean, played at UAB and signed with the Vikings (Stefon’s former team) after the 2019 NFL draft.

The three brothers lost their father, Aron, when he died from congestive heart failure in 2010. That’s when Stefon, the oldest brother, stepped up to help fill his father’s shoes.

“He’s like my dad, honestly,” Trevon said at the scouting combine. “He was there for me when my father passed, so he has always taken care of me. I always ask him everything, no matter what. Two o’clock in the morning, I’m asking him questions. I called him last night, every day, about this process and how he managed it.”

They said it: “Not testing at the combine hurt him. I don’t know if he can go Round 1. I wanted to see [a timed speed], but I suspect he’s not fast.” 

— NFC scouting director

Player comp: James Bradberry.

Previous prospect rankings: Nos. 100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-66 | 65-61 | 60-56 | 55-51 | 50. DT Justin Madubuike | 49. CB Damon Arnette | 48. OT Ezra Cleveland | 47. WR KJ Hamler | 46. CB A.J. Terrell | 45. RB Cam Akers | 44. DL Ross Blacklock | 43. OT Josh Jones | 42. DT Jordan Elliott | 41. C Cesar Ruiz | 40. S Kyle Dugger | 39. EDGE Terrell Lewis | 38. WR Laviska Shenault Jr. | 37. S Grant Delpit | 36. Jonathan Taylor | 35. WR Brandon Aiyuk | 34. EDGE Zack Baun | 33. EDGE Yetur Gross-Matos | 32. CB Jeff Gladney | 31. QB Jordan Love | 30. CB Trevon Diggs | 29. EDGE A.J. Epenesa | 28. RB JK Dobbins | 27. WR Justin Jefferson | 26. WR Tee Higgins | 25. S Xavier McKinney | 24. WR Jalen Reagor | 23. CB Kristian Fulton | 22. RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire | 21. WR Denzel Mims | 20. LB Kenneth Murray | 19. RB D’Andre Swift | 18. QB Justin Herbert | 17. LB Patrick Queen | 16. WR Henry Ruggs III | 15. EDGE K’Lavon Chaisson | 14. WR Jerry Jeudy | 13. OT Mekhi Becton | 12. DT Javon Kinlaw | 11. OT Andrew Thomas | 10. OT Tristan Wirfs | 9. WR CeeDee Lamb | 8. OT Jedrick Wills Jr. | 7. CB CJ Henderson | 6. LB-S Isaiah Simmons | 5. DT Derrick Brown | 4. QB Tua Tagovailoa | 3. CB Jeffrey Okudah | 2. QB Joe Burrow | 1. Chase Young

Expected draft range: Top-40 pick.

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