OXNARD, Calif. - Fourteen times during his rookie NFL season, cornerback Trevon Diggs got his hands on the ball. Fourteen times.
But who's counting?
Trevon Diggs is counting.
"I got my hands on 14 balls,'' Diggs says. "I ended up with 'not-14' interceptions. So that's a problem.''
Diggs' attitude - he has an immediate short-term memory when it comes to a mistake made on the last play but a long-term memory when it comes to trying to fix it - is one of the leaders he's quickly emerged as the Dallas Cowboys' best defensive back.
Another reason, he tells us, is the daily competition in camp against the likes of CeeDee Lamb, his fellow top-of-the-2021-NFL-Draft classmate.
"He is a heck of a player,'' Diggs says. "He pushes me. I need that."
Diggs led the team in pass breakups last year with 15, and he totaled three interceptions. He did all of that despite missing four games with a foot injury.
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The Cowboys are in love with the first-rounder Lamb. Their affection for second-rounder Diggs isn't far behind.
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"Every play is all-out,'' coach Mike McCarthy says. "He just brings an intensity to it. He's so instinctive. His ball skills are unique. When the ball's in the air, he's like another receiver out there."
Of course, to be on a level with Lamb, as a receiver, takes some doing. Lamb invites the daily competition, too.
"We're going to compete, always," Lamb says. "We came in together. We hold each other to a high standard."
It's easy to compute the high-standard numbers of a receiver. More difficult is to do so for a cornerback. Fourteen interceptions? That's not realistic. Be the Cowboys' defensive version of Lamb? That's what Diggs is working on, every day.
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