Quandre Diggs has never forgotten his humble NFL beginnings.
A sixth-round pick out of Texas in 2015, there were 34 defensive backs selected in the NFL Draft before Diggs finally heard his name come off the board to the Lions at pick No. 200.
He’s always used that perceived slight as motivation. While that chip on his shoulder will never completely go away, Diggs does seem to finally be coming to peace with what he’s accomplished over the last four years.
He’s a starting safety and one of Detroit’s two established leaders in the secondary along with cornerback Darius Slay. He signed a three-year extension last year that keeps him a Lion through the 2021 season. He’s also set to become a father this summer, with daughter Ariya on the way.
“I’m just at peace with life, man,” Diggs said Tuesday. “I enjoy it every day. I’m blessed. I’ve been humbled before in my life. I’m just at a point where I’m 26 years old, I know who I am. I know what I’m capable of and I’m just here to be the guy the man above wanted me to be.”
In four seasons, Diggs has established himself not only as a core player and leader in Detroit’s secondary, but also one of the good young safeties in this league.
He was the only defensive back in the NFL to finish last season with at least 75 tackles, three interceptions, three tackles for loss and a pick-six.
Over the past two years, he is one of only two defensive backs in the league to total at least 130 tackles, eight tackles for loss, six interceptions and a pick-six.
He credits some of the success he’s seen over the last few years with the help he received from veteran players when he first got here. One of the players he looked up to early on was safety Glover Quin, who was released this offseason after a six years with the team.
For young players like second-year safety Tracy Walker and incoming rookie Will Harris, they’ll now turn to the veteran Diggs for leadership. It’s funny how roles change so quickly in the NFL.
“I’m just going to go out and play my game the best I can be,” Diggs said. “I’m a football player. I’m a leader. At the end of the day, when it comes down to it on Sundays, and when it’s time to practice, I’m going to strap those things up and you can follow my lead if you want.”
Diggs does see it at his responsibility to pay it forward to the young players like Walker, Harris and others, because of how veterans like Quin helped him along his young journey into the league.
“Me being able to do that for those young guys is huge,” he said. “That’s my responsibility. You never want to cheat the game. I want to give the game everything and give those guys everything and just let them know that I’m here for them.”
Diggs made it clear, however, he is more of a lead by example type. The example Diggs sets as a consummate professional, student of the game, and someone who’s had to earn everything he’s gotten in football is a good one to follow.
“I was picked 200, round six,” Diggs said. “A lot of DB’s taken before me, a lot of those DB’s not in the league anymore.
“I feel like I’m on a pace to have a long career. So, for me, I’ve always remained humble. Beat the odds and remain humble, that’s always been my saying and is going to be my saying no matter what.”