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Alabama Football Film Room: Is Trevon Diggs the answer at cornerback?

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Alabama has an opening in the secondary, and Diggs had his first shot at filling it during A-Day.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship-Clemson vs Alabama Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Trevon Diggs was a 4-star athlete, another blue-chip prospect Saban and company plucked out of the Northern Virginia/D.C./Maryland area. He came to Tuscaloosa, passing on the local Terrapins, where his brother Stefon Diggs, currently with the Minnesota Vikings, attended.

Diggs started out on the defensive side but was primarily switched over to receiver. While he had little impact, the coaches thought highly enough of him to keep inserting him into the lineup on both sides of the ball. His 11 receptions in 2016 are the 5th most of any returning player, but the coaching staff converted him back to defensive back.

Diggs spent this spring at outside corner, and he started opposite Anthony Averett at the spot vacated by Marlon Humphrey. He was obviously still raw, getting burned deep on several occasions. I covered a couple of them in my Hurts breakdown, including his interception; so you can go back and look at those if you like (you should).

My initial impression was that Diggs, on the whole, had a very forgettable day. However, I will say that after rewatching, I noticed he made several improvements in-game; and, his performance was more mixed than my gut had told me. Diggs does still need work, and the battle for the open corner position is far from concluded.

My confidence in Diggs, though, did go up. Here’s a closer look at Diggs’ day:

1st and 10: Hurts is in shotgun with Josh Jacobs on his left. Hale Hentges is on the line on the right, and Calvin Ridley is on the right as well. Diggs is opposite Ridley. He takes a couple snaps back but sees it’s a run, and he quickly reverses course. Quinnen Williams forces Jacobs to bounce it outside, and Diggs is in good position. He tries to go low and gets stiff-armed into the ground. It’s not a terribly good attempt at a tackle, but he does slow down Jacobs, who has to run out of bounds after just a short gain.

2nd and 9: Diggs is the boundary corner (short side of the field). Ridley and Hentges are stacked on that side. Diggs shuffles back, watching Ridley. He sees Ridley break on the out route and transitions from the shuffle without a wasted step. This quick reaction allows Diggs to get back to Ridley and get his hand on the ball, knocking it loose. Diggs needs to improve, but this is very encouraging to see.

2nd and 10: Diggs is matched up against Robert Foster in press-man coverage. He doesn’t jam or get his hands on Foster at all and allows him a clean release. Unchecked, Foster turns on the jets and runs by him. Diggs stays close enough to make the tackle, but Foster had plenty of separation to make an uncontested catch.

1st and 10: Ignore the ball on this one. Diggs is in press coverage on Cam Sims. [Ed. Bottom corner] Like the previous play, Sims tries to release to the outside. This time, however, Diggs gets hands on the receiver and prevents Sims from getting a clean release. He stays on him the rest of the play. Hurts went the other way, but this is a little thing I missed on my initial watch of the game. Disrupting the receiver’s route by even a little can have a huge impact on the play. It can screw up the timing between the quarterback and receiver. It can slow down the receiver on deep routes.

1st and 10: Diggs is at the top of the screen opposite Ridley. He correctly reads the fly route and goes from shuffle to sprint. Ridley initially has a little cushion, but Diggs closes back in. Hurts lofts a beautiful ball to Ridley. This isn’t really bad coverage by Diggs. He’s right there, and his right hand is on Ridley. Hurts just locates it perfectly on the outside shoulder of Ridley, so Diggs doesn’t have a shot.

1st and 10: Diggs is one-on-one against big-bodied Derek Kief. Diggs jams him, but he’s a little too eager and overextends himself. He disrupts Kief, but he ends up a little out of position. Still, he’s right there to bat the ball away.

Poll

After the good and the bad, how would you grade Diggs’ A-Day game

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  • 3%
    A
    (20 votes)
  • 39%
    B
    (224 votes)
  • 49%
    C
    (283 votes)
  • 7%
    D-F
    (41 votes)
568 votes total Vote Now