ALLEN PARK — When Quandre Diggs was drafted in 2015’s sixth round, he came to Detroit ready to show he belonged in the Lions’ secondary.
He was a standout from the get-go.
That fight, that desire has not let up.
On Monday, the Lions defensive back received his reward in the form of a three-year contract extension reportedly worth $20.4 million.
“It’s a blessing, it’s a huge relief but at the end of the day you still have to put in work and show the Lions that you deserve every penny of it,’’ Diggs said after Monday’s practice. “My whole mindset hasn’t changed. I continue to go out and work, I think we had a good day today. Even though I signed the deal I still had to get to work.’’
(Photo courtesy of the Detroit Lions)
Diggs finished last season starting at safety but he’s just as comfortable at nickel and can also play corner. It’s unknown where he’ll start in Monday’s season opener against the N.Y. Jets and, in fact, that might change game to game depending on the opponent.
Patricia called him a “critical” part of the defense.
“However we decide to use him, it’s always going to be in the best of our ability to put us in the chance to win. But certainly with his ability to do that and handle the mental part of it, which is a big part of it — the instinctual part of it to, again, when you’re lining up in a safety position, you’re looking at the defense maybe from the top down,’’ Patricia said on Monday. “When you’re closer to the box, it’s maybe a little bit more peripheral, kind of all around you. So, that’s kind of a rare trait and that’s something that we identify that he has that he’s able to do at a high level. So, certainly that was a good opportunity for us to use it all the way through camp.”
Patricia has tried to fill the roster with versatile players on both sides of the ball.
“I’m really excited, we’re in a great situation where we have a lot of guys who can play a lot of positions. I’m really excited about the DB room of course it’s a brotherhood, we’ve all come together,’ Diggs said.
Patricia noted Diggs’ leadership skills.
“It’s growing on me a little bit. At the end of the day I’m going into my fourth year I’ve beat the odds, sixth-round pick, 200 (overall), I’ve beaten the odds from what I was supposed to be,’’ Diggs said. “When I got here I had great guys like Rasheen Mathis, GQ (Glover Quin) of course, Don Carey. I’ve always had great leaders, great mentorship, including Josh Wilson and James Ihedigbo. For me it’s a blessing. I take these guys under my wing, even the guys who are around the same age as me, I try to teach them as much as I can and try to be there for them.’’
Since his rookie season he has played in 44 games with 19 starts. Last year was his best with 11 starts, 3 interceptions, one sack, nine pass defenses and 55 tackles.
“It’s a blessing,’’ Diggs said. “I’m just happy to be here, I appreciate the Lions and Mrs. Ford and everybody for believing in me.’’