Trevon Diggs is out for the season. What are the Cowboys’ options?

Things were cruising just a bit too smoothly, it seems, as the Dallas Cowboys have hit their first real speed bump of the 2023 season.

The hum of the typical game-week routine was broken Thursday when word surfaced Trevon Diggs had left practice with an apparent knee injury. By the time reports emerged Diggs would be undergoing an MRI, the worst was already confirmed: The All-Pro corner had suffered a torn ACL.

A promising season in which Diggs started with three pass breakups, a forced fumble and an interception is over before the outset of Week 3.

It’s a tough blow for the Cowboys. Diggs has 18 interceptions in 47 career games and just signed a $97 million contract at the outset of training camp. He just turned 25 on Wednesday, which just goes to show how bright his future looks. Hopefully, his recovery is swift and without complication. 

It’s also a sad development for football fans in general, given what seemed to be cooking in the Dallas secondary this season. Diggs and Stephon Gilmore formed a rare duo of All-Pro corners sharing an NFL field, and the offseason excitement looked justified through two games. Through this early point in the season, Dallas defensive backs have batted away 11 passes and picked off five.

Now, the task falls to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to adapt on the fly. Fortunately for him, the Cowboys have positioned him well. The Cowboys’ cupboard is not bare at cornerback. DaRon Bland has emerged as a young talent, Jourdan Lewis offers six years of NFL experience, the team traded for former first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene, and Gilmore still remains as an All-Pro presence.

That doesn’t even include the Cowboys’ safety corps, which is bringing back Donovan Wilson from injury and includes the duo of Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker.

This is not to minimize the loss of a talent such as Diggs. Quinn would no doubt prefer to have an elite athlete, who can handle man-to-man coverage against virtually anyone, who also has the ball skills to stack 11 interceptions on the season. Even still, there are enough capable bodies on hand to make do, and Quinn is a bright enough defensive mind to know how to use them. It’s at least slightly reminiscent of 2021, when a practice injury to DeMarcus Lawrence forced Quinn to deploy Micah Parsons as a pass rusher — and the rest is history.

It would be irrational to expect similar results in this case. Parsons was the No. 12 overall pick in that year’s draft, and he is now staking his claim as the best edge rusher in football. But Quinn does have options to choose from, and whoever is tasked with replacing Diggs will have Parsons & Co. pressuring the opposing quarterback. There’s plenty of reason to trust that the Cowboys’ secondary can weather the storm this season.

As for today, it’s a tough bump for a team that was out to the hottest start in the league. Let’s see how well they recover from it.

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports. He previously spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in producing “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Follow him on Twitter at @davidhelman_.

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