Lions’ Adairius Barnes following Quandre Diggs’ path again
There are a lot of similarities between Quandre Diggs and his potential replacement, Adairius Barnes.
Both were undervalued coming out of college. Diggs, the Texas standout, wasn’t selected until the sixth round in 2015. Barnes went undrafted out of Louisiana Tech in 2016. They even shared a coach, Blake Baker, Tech’s defensive coordinator who served three years as a graduate assistant at Texas.
Now Barnes appears to be following Diggs’ path into the Lions’ lineup. In 2015, Diggs was forced into a bigger role as a rookie when Josh Wilson suffered a season-ending injury. This year, it’s Diggs who landed on injured reserve, clearing the path for Barnes.
“The thing is for me to get it and keep it rolling,” Barnes said. “Keep it going the same way it’s been going, keep doing the same things Quandre has been doing to help us win.”
The nickel position is new to the 5-foot-10 Barnes. He said it requires more thought and quicker decision-making, but with plenty of practice reps, and some rotational snaps in games, he’s feeling more comfortable in the role.
“I think he’s got some stuff that you can use as an inside player because he’s quick, he’s tough, he’s got good ball skills,” defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “He’s not afraid to mix it up, so he’s got the baseline you’re looking for.”