When the Lions drafted Diggs in round six of the 2015 NFL Draft early last month, the buzz surrounding his name started almost instantaneously.
Diggs is of course the brother of former NFL defensive back Quentin Jammer. Jammer was a guy who Detroit actually looked at heavily during their 2002 NFL draft scouting process.
Then team general manager, Matt Millen would however eventually select quarterback Joey Harrington out of Oregon and the rest is history.
Diggs meanwhile is hard at work at Lions organized team activities and mandatory minicamps, making a name for himself with his play on the field.
The former University of Texas Longhorn has been on the field with first-team units quite a bit this spring and has already left an impression on his coaching staff, particularly defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
"“I like that guy,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said via MLive. “He’s scrappy, he’s tough, he’s got good ball skills, he’s got good football sense that I’ve seen so far. So, we’ll just see how once we get into pads, once we get him in-game situations. But I think he’s got a great background.”"
Diggs was a four-year starter in Texas’ secondary, but his combination of size (5-foot-9, 196 pounds) and uninspiring speed (4.56-second 40 yard dash) raised questions about how he would do at the professional level.
What Diggs lacks in measurables however, he makes up for it with his football IQ — something that often goes underestimated in the NFL. He also gives his older brother credit for the characteristics that he possess today.
"“He is probably the most impactful person of my whole deal with football,” Diggs said. “He is always there for me. I talk to him every day. That is my role model. I love my brother. He was the first one to give me a hug today when I got that call.”"
Quandre Diggs (36) during OTA at Detroit Lions Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
It is also worth noting that Diggs has been given some of his opportunities early on in large part to the injuries to the guys ahead of him on the Detroit Lions roster. That shouldn’t be considered a knock on Diggs though, it should be another reason to applaud him as he makes the most out of opportunities presented to him.
The nickel position that Diggs is currently in competition for, seen its field of combatants thin out earlier this week when Detroit cut former 2012 third round pick, Bill Bentley.
Bentley has been the teams nickel man for a majority of the last three seasons — at least when he was healthy. Durability and injury concerns plagued the former Louisiana-Lafayette corner early in his career, yet many were intrigued to see how he would bounce back in 2015 following a torn ACL last season.
It became it bit clearer later on as to why Detroit was quick to cut ties.
“I’m pleased with where he is right now.” – Teryl Austin
Despite the loss of Bentley from the nickel corner competition, there is still a plethora of competition for Diggs to fight through once training camp rolls around later this summer.
Still on the roster is returning second year player, Nevin Lawson and newly added Josh Wilson whom the team signed via free agency. Lawson is also returning from a 2014 foot injury and Wilson could now prove to be Diggs’ stiffest competition.
Wilson could end up with the edge early on due to his on-the-field experience, but Diggs is unlikely to go down without a fight. His size is his biggest limitation right now, but coaches like his toughness, his knack of being around the ball, and his willingness to hit. He also has pretty good hands and strong instincts.
"“He’s not going to have the measurable that we like. He doesn’t have the length, he doesn’t have the height. But what he does have is a good understanding of football,” Austin said. “He makes quick reactions, he has good eyes, good hands, good feet. That’s what you need as a defensive back.”"
The Lions wrapped up their mandatory minicamp on Thursday, but training camp is right around the corner. This position battle that includes Diggs, Wilson, Alex Carter, Chris Owens and Mohammed Seisay is one that fascinates me and is one you should keep an eye on as well.
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