The Minnesota Vikings have been carefully building their defense since Mike Zimmer took over the helm. Specifically, they have consistently had excellent defensive back play based on large, physical, and fluid corners. However, the Vikings are sitting in a rough position currently with Xavier Rhodes looking worse all the time, Mike Hughes has yet to show he can remain healthy and be relied upon, and Trae Waynes is about to hit the open market where he will likely be paid much more than Minnesota can match.
With this lack of top end talent at the cornerback position, Mike Zimmer might be asking Rick Spielman to target a top corner in this year’s draft. One player in this draft that fits Zimmer’s mold perfectly is Trevon Diggs.
The younger brother of the Vikings miracle man Stefon Diggs, Trevon converted to cornerback after his freshman season at the University of Alabama. Trevon is also bigger than his brother by a couple inches, 6’2” compared to 6’ and 207 lbs to 191 lbs. However, I would say the two are on a similar plane athletically.
Trevon had a solid career at the University of Alabama, including a national championship in his sophomore season, and being named a third team AP All-American and second team All-SEC this season. Over for years at Alabama, he amassed 68 total tackles (43 solo, 25 assisted), four interceptions, and 17 pass breakups. Trevon also added a fumble recovery touchdown, a pick six, and a receiving touchdown. He also returned 15 kicks for 357 yards and 31 punts for 284 yards.
Although Trevon’s numbers don’t pop off the page, his tape is impressive. Playing in the SEC, Diggs was mostly matched up on the outside against some of the best receivers in the nation. He showed good footwork and skills in press coverage where his size helps him be extra physical and keep receivers from getting clean breaks. He also has very fluid hips and his long arms gives him a chance to negate big receiver’s catch radiuses.
Trevon’s experience as a receiver means that he has very good ball skills. However, he can sometimes be out of position at the catch point. This can be because he has troubles getting his head turned in time, but these are some of the issues that Mike Zimmer specializes in clearing up.
When he gets ahold of the ball, he is very good and can create good field position and defensive scores. Although not a prolific returner, his return ability gives him an extra plus to find the field early in his career.
His size gives him the chance to be as good as peak Xavier Rhodes. Like Rhodes, he’s going to deal with penalties early in his career. He also tends to be overly aggressive while trying to be physical, that means if he misses knocking the receiver off their route, he can give up big plays. He negates some of that with his catch up speed.
Where Trevon will need to improve the most, is his weak tackling. Despite being big for a corner, his technique needs to improve. This is something that Minnesota’s defensive backs have been very good at in recent memory, so it shouldn’t be a problem to iron it out.
Trevon Diggs is an intriguing prospect that fits a need and has a connection to the team already. He’s also the type of player that Mike Zimmer loves. However, if the Vikings want him, he will have to be their first pick, barring something really unforeseen and unfortunate, which means they would need to once again prioritize their defensive backfield. Rick Spielman has shown that he’s not afraid to do that, but in a year that is make or break, it might be hard to justify to the fans. If Diggs is the best player available when they pick at 25, I say they should go for it as he has the potential to be a shutdown guy, it might make his brother happier, and he probably won’t end up any worse than Trae Waynes.
Projected Draft Round: 1-2
Floor: Trae Waynes
Ceiling: Xavier Rhodes
Best Traits: Size, Press coverage, Fluidity
Biggest Drawbacks: Penalties, Tackling, Playing the ball at the catch point