Still early in the NFL’s year, the sixth-round draft pick out of Texas, Quandre Diggs is turning some heads. So far, most of the talk has been about how good he looks in spite of his size and speed, or more accurately, the lack thereof.
Diggs stands just 5-foot-9 and ran below average speeds (4.56) for a defensive back at the combine. Thus far though, it hasn’t seemed to matter at OTAs. With other defensive backs Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson still sitting because of the injuries that ended their seasons in 2014, and third-round pick Alex Carter just arriving after he finished out his classes at Stanford, Diggs has been given some run with the first-team defensive unit. It’s not been a wasted opportunity.
Though a little smaller and a little slower, Diggs seems to own an intangible that is a lot harder to measure with a stopwatch; football instinct. This invaluable talent hasn’t gone unnoticed among his peers. Matthew Stafford gushed about the rookie:
“He’s got a natural feel, made a play the other day in the red zone that wasn’t even on the ball. I wasn’t in the game, I was just watching from afar, and was like, ‘Man, our QB wanted to throw it, and he just took it away at the last second. He’s got a good feel in zone, and I think he’s a feisty kind of competitor in man. He’s going to be around the football trying to make plays on it.”
Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin used words like ‘tough’ and ‘scrappy’ to describe the former Longhorn, but more importantly he observed “he’s got good ball skills, he’s got good football sense that I’ve seen so far.”
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) June 8, 2015
Now if this all translates to a roster spot is still to be seen, but Diggs certainly has the pedigree to make the team. His (much) older brother Quentin Jammer played twelve years in the league, and if rumors are true, he was the man Matt Millen wanted to draft instead of Joey Harrington. Jammer reportedly speaks regularly with his younger sibling and offers advice. That advice could prove useful as Diggs is being asked to learn three roles in the defense: nickel, outside corner, and dime back. That kind of versatility could go a long way to seeing him survive preseason cuts when the team drops down to the final 53 men. To further help his chances he’s taking reps, not just on defense, but special teams as well, fielding kick returns early in OTAs.
We’re rooting for Diggs to pan out, but only time will tell (obviously).