Lions' Quandre Diggs emerges as Matthew Stafford's new practice rival

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — For the past six years, Matthew Stafford had the perfect counterpart in Detroit's secondary. Safety Glover Quin was a piece of iron that sharpened the veteran quarterback's game, forcing him to master the use of his eyes to create the necessary windows to complete those throws to the deeper parts of the field. 

Quandre Diggs

With Quin gone, released this offseason, a new challenger has emerged as Stafford's rival on the practice field, safety Quandre Diggs. 

On the final day of minicamp Thursday, Diggs took advantage of a miscommunication between Stafford and receiver, snagging a pick on the move. A few plays later, Diggs broke up a deep ball on the sideline. 

"He's done a nice job," Stafford said about Diggs. "Obviously, he's a really intelligent player. Kind of started out in the league as a nickel and got to see the action from there and progressed into the back end and sees things really well. He's obviously a smart player. He knows what offenses are trying to do and put guys in certain situations."

Diggs' development since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 has been impressive.

As Stafford noted, Diggs played nickel as a rookie, when he was pressed into action due to injury ahead of him on the depth chart. The following year, in the midst of a disappointing sophomore campaign, he suffered a season-ending injury of his own, a torn pectoral muscle. He rebounded his third season, and was playing well as Detroit's slot corner, before an injury once again impacted his career arc. 

With safety Tavon Wilson knocked out for the year, the Lions converted Diggs to safety, where he's flourished, recording six interceptions in a season and a half. His performance earned him a three-year, $20.4 million extension last September.