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Trevon Diggs is taking over the NFL. Depending on who you’re talking to, the second year cornerback is either second coming of Deion Sanders, or a loose cannon who gives up as much as he takes. The wide disparity in everyone’s assessment is understandable, even if it is clearly partisan.

Trevon Diggs’ six interceptions leads the NFL this season. And that’s no fluke. He has nine interceptions in the past 10 games, even going back to last season. The 6-foot-2 Alabama product is a great turnover machine. Diggs is a converted WR and plays a unique style of football. When the ball is in the air, it’s his, and unlike most ball-hawking DBs, Diggs has the sure hands to go with his aggressively elite ball skills.

Trevon Diggs’ style of play makes him a difficult assessment for the Dallas Cowboys, but the numbers paint a clear picture

Diggs is also an avid gambler. He’s on pace to give up a whopping 843 yards this season. He reads passers, and baits them into false security. Sometimes this results in quick completions and other times it leads to crucial interceptions. There’s good and there’s bad and both are true at the same time.

Trevon Diggs’ stats this season…

• 10 passes defended
• 6 INTs
• 47.4 comp. % allowed
• 29.2 passer rating allowed
• No TDs allowed

— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) October 13, 2021

Diggs isn’t a lockdown CB in the traditional sense, or frankly, any sense. Diggs is a confident receiver who can make up speed and calculate angles and high points with the utmost confidence. That’s why his coverage grades come off so puzzling.

Pro Football Focus has Diggs rated as the 37th Chief Football Officer in the NFL. This, despite the fact he’s gone 205 snaps without giving up a touchdown. He also allows a league low (which is good for him), -20 CPOE when he’s targeted. Most telling is his league-leading negative EPA score when targeted (he’s by far the top CB).

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Diggs are the target of teams with a passer rating average of 38.9. They’d literally have a higher rating spiking the ball into the turf.

Each play is valued by EPA. It tells whether a play helps (positive score) or hurts (negative score) the offense’s chances of scoring points and to what degree. Diggs has a net -29 score meaning the plays he’s making far outweigh the plays he’s giving up. Diggs is a target for teams with a 38.9 passer rating. They’d literally have a higher rating spiking the ball into the turf.

As a film watcher, I don’t agree with PFF’s rating, but I understand why they are critical. Diggs gives up separation every time he is on the All-22. Regardless of whether the ball goes his direction, standardized gradeing is right to criticize him for this.

It’s the same reason Marcus Peters‘ grades were all over the board most of his career. He has always been a bit of a gambler who gives up yards and also steals yards. He feels if he can make one game-changing play, it will more than make up for a few completions. And he’This is mostly true since the average INT has enough EPA value to cover a handful standard completions.

It’s no wonder why I related Trevon Diggs to Marcus Peters early in his rookie year. He was displaying the same qualities and mindset as Peters and it was only a matter time before he started making money like Peters. As we can all see, he’s starting to profit. And this year he’s out Marcus Peter-ing Marcus Peters himself.

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Deion Sanders broke 25-years ago the standardized grading rubric, and Diggs is doing it today.

As a playmaking Dallas Cowboys cornerback, it’s also understandable he’s garnering some premature Deion Sanders’ comparisons. 25 years ago, Sanders broke the standardized scoring rubric and Diggs is doing it today.

Sanders was undoubtedly the most skilled defensive player the NFL has ever seen. He lured QBs into throwing the ball his way, making them pay with his insane closing speed and jawdropping plays on it. If a grader didn’t know what Deion was-doing/could-do they’d be inclined to ding him for loose coverage on some routine plays as well. Only after learning Deion’s make-up abilities, strategy, and mindset do we know that Deion was in complete control and that “separation”It was 100 percent according the plan.

Trevon Diggs is not quite there yet and probably never will. Deion was off-the-charts special and we’ll probably never see anyone like him. But Trevon is following a similar path and that’s what makes grading him so difficult and everyone’s analysis so different. Until graders start realizing his coverage is according to plan and not a mistake, we’re likely to see more of the same scores.

Whether he’s a great CB or not is not really up for debate. As we see by the numbers, the value of the plays he’s making are far out-weighing the plays he’s allowing. His NFL leading – 29 EPA when targeted shows teams are shooting themselves in the foot when they throw his way. The expected points place value on each and every play, and right now show the plays he’s made are far more valuable than the plays he’s given up.

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Things are going to change. He will not be tested by the QBs. Anthony Brown, the CB opposite him, is the most targeted CB within the NFL. Deion Sanders was a former player.

Trevon Diggs is the league’s leader in INTs. Also, leads the CBs in penalties. The 4th most yards allowed. These are all per PFF. It makes for a very interesting watch.

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— Jeff Cavanaugh (@JC1053) October 11, 2021

Slowly, Diggs will be backed by passers instead of trying to avoid him. Graders will be observant and Diggs will have the chance to flirt. “shutdown” label that hasn’t been applicable since Deion last wore the Star.

Trevon Diggs, however, will continue to be the middleman. He can be a gambler who is willing to give up too much or a play-maker that will make you pay. He’ll bait passers and big plays will come. The Dallas Cowboys will make a profit, while the Graders will struggle.

But the numbers are clear. He’s the best.

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