Losing Pro Bowl cornerback Trevon Diggswhose 18 career interceptions since 2020 are tied for second in the NFLIt was a big blow for him. Dallas Cowboys‘ defenseman, but second-year cornerback Daron Blanda fifth-round pick in 2022 NFL Drafthas He seamlessly transitioned to playing outside corner in 2023.. Bland recorded his fourth pick six of the season on Sunday, tying him for the most in a season in NFL history. Bland had a 30-yard interception return touchdown on a pass from Panthers rookie Bryce Young that was intended for Jonathan Mingo. The six pick put the Cowboys up by 20, a huge momentum shift in the Week 11 contest.

Young had time to throw and Bland was waiting for him to try an outside pass to Mingo. Bland is the fourth player in NFL history to have four in a season, but Bland still has seven games left after Sunday’s game.

Most interceptions returned for TDs in a season in NFL history


DAL DaRon Bland



Eric Allen Health Information



KC Jim Kearney



Ken Houston


“It means a lot,” Bland said after his third interception return touchdown of the season against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8. “You know [Trevon] Diggs always wanted to have the ball. “Just being able to intervene makes me feel good.”

Bland was never guaranteed playing time since being selected in the fifth round out of Sacramento State, but his emergence now has Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones taking a victory lap on his pick during the half. from Bland’s second season.

“You really have to check that box, a lot of times you don’t get them right when you draft them, so he’s been in a good situation here, but he showed up quick,” Jones said after the game. Week 8. “He’s had a lot of work, but he deserves it. That’s just what we see. He’s made big plays for us so far this year. In my mind, he’ll make big plays for the rest of his career.”

The 24-year-old began his career as a backup nickel cornerback for an injured man. Jourdan Lewis last season, and had five interceptions as a rookie in 2022, tied for fifth in the entire NFL. Despite changing positions in 2023 to outside cornerback, Bland has played even better. In fact, he’s playing like the best cornerback in the NFL right now. His 17.5 passer rating allowed entering Week 11 was the lowest in the NFL among players with 25 or more pass attempts this season. The next closest player was New Orleans Saints cornerback Paulson Adebo, whose passer rating of 22.8 is just over five points higher.

“That’s why I said he’s that guy,” the Cowboys quarterback said. Dak Prescott said after the game in Week 8 when asked about Bland’s success in going from a dime [inside] corner as a rookie in 2022 to be a limit [outside] corner in 2023. “Not many guys are able to move positions like that and make the impact that he’s been able to make. Obviously, when you lose a guy like Trevon [Diggs], people ask. When a guy like that steps in and says, “I’m here and I’m here to play,” that’s important. That’s huge. He is a mature man who prepares the right way. He does everything during the week.

“He ain’t no big rah rah [guy] And to be honest, he doesn’t even talk much. He does it within his game on the field, he does it in practice. He made some plays on me from day 1 when he showed up and said this guy knows what he’s looking at, he knows what he’s doing and he has confidence in himself. He relies on breaking at the right time and making the right plays. He will only get better because he is young and approaches the game the right way. He’ll just see more things that he trusts to jump into. He has another guy on the other side, like Stephon, to teach him. He has been impressive. This is just the beginning.”

Bland has more picks this season than Hall of Famer Deion Sanders had in his five seasons (1995-1999) with the Cowboys (two). During Sanders’ lone campaign as NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1994 with the San Francisco 49ers, totaled three touchdowns with interception returns in 14 games played. Bland’s 11 interceptions lead the NFL since his debut in 2022, six of which came in 2023. His six interceptions are the most of his career and tied for the most in the league this season with crows defensive back gene stoneAre six.

“He’s super instinctive and has great ball skills,” Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said after the Week 8 game. “He’s very consistent for a young player. Not only what he’s done this year but also last year. He’s going to play for a long time.” “.

18 be