Lions' Diggs not sweating heated competition

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Cornerback Quandre Diggs

Allen Park – Quandre Diggs is on the hot seat, but the Detroit Lions cornerback isn’t feeling the heat. Maybe because he’s used to it.

Diggs has always been something of an underdog. The half-brother of Quentin Jammer, a two-time All-American and top-10 NFL draft pick, Diggs had big shoes to fill. He followed Jammer to Texas and became a four-year starter, fending off four- and five-star recruits each year, despite less-than-ideal measurables.

His size, and those aforementioned measurables, caused Diggs to slide to the sixth round of the draft when he came out in 2015, but by the end of his rookie season, he was starting at nickel corner for the Lions.

He’s been hit and miss in that role. He’s a superb tackler and has a knack for making plays coming downhill, but he’s been shaky in coverage. According to STATS LLC., Diggs gave up receptions on 34 of the 38 plays he was targeted.

The Lions brought in stiff competition for his job this offseason. They signed former first-round pick D.J. Hayden, who performed at his best after he was moved inside by the Raiders last year. The Lions also drafted Jamal Agnew, a small school standout with impressive ball skills.

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That means Diggs, who is coming off a season-ending pectoral injury, is going to have to step it up this offseason if he wants to keep seeing meaningful snaps.

“I don’t believe heat,” Diggs said. “I’ve been doubted my whole life. I have a brother (Jammer) that was the fifth pick in the draft, so everybody looked at me as the underdog. I just do what I do.

“I don’t worry about what you (reporters) say, I don’t worry about what anybody says, I think my performance, it speaks for itself,” he said. “Those guys have to come in and work just like I do.”

Wednesday marked the first time Diggs had practiced since being placed on injured reserve last December. He admitted he’s still knocking off the rust.

“I’m still working (through some things), but telling me to go half speed, that’s just not me,” he said. “I’m just trying to get back to it and getting back to being myself.”

Given Diggs' history, it would be a mistake to write him off. He has overcome obstacle after obstacle to reach this point. And for many young NFL players, things begin to come more naturally in their third seasons.

“I don’t get too rattled by anything,” he said. “ I’ve just got to do what I do and go out and play my game.”

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @justin_rogers