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Diggs not rattled by competition; He's used to it

Quandre Diggs has always thought of himself as the underdog.

It dates back to college and his late recruitment to some of the bigger schools. He proved those early doubters wrong when he stepped on Texas' campus as an undersized 5-foot-9 cornerback and started as a true freshman.

There were more critics when Diggs slipped to the sixth round of the NFL Draft in 2015, where he was eventually selected by Detroit as the 200th player drafted.

Like he did at Texas, Diggs didn't listen to the noise, and went to work to carve out a role as a rookie, eventually becoming a starter for the Lions late in his rookie season.

He was named the starting nickel cornerback for the Lions to begin last season.

But Diggs suffered a bit of a sophomore slump. He allowed a passer rating of 124.2 on passes thrown into his coverage, the worst among any qualifying slot cornerback per Pro Football Focus, before being lost for the year with a pectoral injury in early December.

Diggs was back in the slot with the starting defense during Wednesday's open OTA practice, and he isn't too worried about the competition the Lions have brought in this offseason at that spot.

"They do the same thing in college," Diggs said. "I went to Texas, man. We get four- and five-star recruits every year. You just come in and work and compete and I don't get too rattled by anything. I just have to do what I do and go out and play my game."

The Lions signed veteran DJ Hayden in free agency. He began his career on the outside, but played in the slot last year in his final season in Oakland. The Lions have said Hayden has the ability to play both inside and outside in their scheme.

The team also drafted Jamel Agnew in the fifth round of last month's NFL Draft. The speedster (4.3 in the 40) is expected to compete exclusively in the slot.

"I don't believe in heat," Diggs said, when asked if the additions have put any extra heat on him. "I've been doubted my whole life. I have a brother (Quentin Jammer) that was the fifth pick in the draft, so everybody looked at me as an underdog.

"So, I just do what I do. I don't worry about what you guys (media) say or what anybody says. Those guys have to come in and work just like I do."

Diggs is still working his way back to 100 percent health from the pectoral injury that landed him on IR. But he says it's hard for him to go anything but 100 percent.

"Telling me to go half speed, that's just not me," Diggs said after being a full participant in Wednesday's OTA practice. "I'm just trying to get back to it and get back to being myself."

Being himself is a player who's always had a knack for proving his detractors wrong. It appears once again Diggs feels like he's in a similar position, and he seems very motivated by it.

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