Cowboys Standout Gets Disrespected in Preseason Ranking After Pro Bowl Season

After a Pro Bowl-caliber season in 2023, DaRon Bland is not being viewed as a top-10 or top-15 cornerback in the NFL.
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys were dealt a major blow last season as they lost Pro Bowl cornerback Trevon Diggs to a season-ending ACL injury. The Cowboys entered the 2023 campaign with one of the better cornerback rooms, featuring Diggs, Stephon Gilmore, and DaRon Bland.

However, without Diggs playing on the boundary, many Cowboys fans wondered if the Bland and Gilmore combo would hold up. And much to their surprise, Bland became one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in 2023.

The former fifth-round pick had 69 combined tackles, 15 pass deflections, nine interceptions, five defensive touchdowns, and three tackles for loss. Bland’s nine turnovers and five scores led the NFL in 2023.

The former Fresno State cornerback also possessed a 59.5 completion percentage allowed on targets, a 60.2 pass rating allowed when targeted, and only gave up four receiving TDs. 

Based on Bland’s production last season and it only being his second, one could make the case that he’s one of the best 10-15 cornerbacks in the league heading into 2024.

However,’s Jared Dubin doesn’t see Bland that way in his top-20 cornerbacks ranking for the 2024 season. Dubin surprisingly has the Pro Bowl cornerback ranked 17th, only in front of Jamel Dean, Rasul Douglas, and Derek Stingley Jr.

"Bland just set an NFL record for pick sixes, ranked third among all corners in PFF's coverage grades, and allowed a hilariously low 50.9 passer rating on throws in his direction, thanks to all those interceptions. He starred in the slot as a rookie and on the perimeter last season. The boom-busty nature of his game is the only thing keeping him from ranking much higher on this list."'s Jared Dubin

While Dubin is correct about Bland’s boom-or-bust playmaking on the boundary last season, his gambles most of the time paid off as the Cowboys reaped the benefits. 

Looking at the other cornerbacks ahead of Bland in Dubin’s rankings, you could make a strong case that he should be ranked higher than Devon Witherspoon (16), D.J. Reed (15), Kendall Fuller (14), and Darious Williams (13).

Bland had more interceptions than those four cornerbacks combined (8) last season. Williams had the bulk of those interceptions last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars (4). 

The Cowboys should hopefully have Diggs back on the field in full capacity, but the Cowboys will hope that Bland can continue his ascension as they don’t have Gilmore anymore, who is still an unrestricted free agent.

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