Digging in on the weak side

With a new position, a new contract and a new position coach, Na'il Diggs feels like a rookie all over again. The fourth-year linebacker couldn't be happier.<p>

"It's a time to start fresh," Diggs said. "You can prove yourself again with a new coach. You get to prove yourself in a way. If you were doing something bad before, now you fix it so he doesn't know it (laughs)."

Diggs was Green Bay's starting strongside linebacker since his rookie season. He is coming off his best season last year when he finished with 111 tackles, a career-high three sacks and two interceptions. But the Packers coaches feel he can do more.

After matching an four-year, $10.5 million offer sheet from Detroit in March, the Packers plan to test Diggs at weakside linebacker and some at middle linebacker during the post-draft and June minicamps. The coaches feel Diggs will be able to make more plays on the weakside, where Nate Wayne played last year.

"He gives you a big body over there that can play the run and pass equally well," said Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman. "A lot of people attack you on that weak side."

The Packers have overhauled their linebacking corp this off-season. Diggs is the only returning starter. Green Bay signed free agent Hannibal Navies this off-season and drafted Nick Barnett (first round) and Hunter Hillenmeyer (fifth round) last weekend. Backups Torrance Marshall, Paris Lenon and Marcus Wilkins also will be competing for playing time.

So far, Diggs, 24, is thrilled not only with his new position but also his role as a leader among the linebackers.

"I have different roles. It's broadening my education of this defense, and I like it. I like it a lot," Diggs said. "I like the position. I like the versatility it has. It's a little freer. You feel a lot more. Hopefully I'll be able to get some more tackles and make more plays."

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