Stefon Diggs Player Evaluation

NFL scout Dave-Te’ Thomas breaks down the strengths and weaknesses of WR Stefon Diggs with his in-depth scouting report that goes well beyond the stats.

The Terps sorely missed Stefon Diggs during the final five games of 2013 after he suffered a broken leg vs. Wake Forest. He was so well-thought of that the league’s coaches still accorded him All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. The 2014 Hornung and Maxwell Award watch list member was averaging 20.0 yards per reception before he was injured and also handled kickoff return duties.

His best attribute is generating yards after the catch, mostly due to his agility, straight-line speed and vision. He’s a smooth, gliding runner who accelerates quickly and changes directions without sacrificing speed. He can easily make defenders miss in the open field and also possesses elite lateral agility to juke in tight quarters, along with having the straight-line speed to separate, making him a threat to score from any point on the field.

Diggs returned to action in 2014, but a lacerated kidney and a suspension limited him to 10 appearances. He still managed to lead Maryland with 62 receptions, sixth-best in a season by a Terrapin. He averaged 12.77 yards per catch with five touchdowns, as he closed out his career fourth in school history for receptions (150) and touchdown grabs (14), while ranking second in receiving yards (2,227). He also took the fourth spots with 57 kickoff returns for 1,472 yards (second with a 25.82-yard average).

Diggs generates a good burst off the snap to eat up the cushion. With his above-average straight-line speed, it makes it risky for defenders to attempt press coverage. He has the quick hands needed to slap away the initial jam and has the balance, flexibility and strength to absorb a pop, gain freedom quickly and accelerate downfield.

Earlier in his career, he would tend to show too much wasted motion at the top of his stem, as his arms would flail and he peeked too soon when throttling down, which can tip off defenders. Now, he does a much better job making the smooth transition with his lateral cuts and shows good explosion coming out of his breaks. With his second gear, he can easily run away from defenders with shallow or deep crossing routes.

Diggs is still developing in terms of locating and getting into the soft spots when he’s working vs. zone coverage. When he fails to use his hands in defense, he can struggle getting a clean release vs. the more physical press corners. As a receiver, his hands appear to be above average and more often than not he will come down with routine catches. Still, he can fight the ball on occasion and let it get into his frame, but then on the next play he will show the ability to adjust to the poorly thrown ball outside of his frame.

Diggs possesses good body control to track the deep ball, but can be a bit inconsistent when having to make elite over-the-shoulder catches. He times his leaps well when going up to high point the deep ball, but he lacks the long arms and good body control to contort in space to make the difficult reception over his outside shoulder when he fails to track the ball in flight.

Diggs is strong enough to absorb the big hit and hang on. He just needs to show better vision and balance to track the ball over his shoulder. He has the initial burst and second gear to rip the lid off of defenses, as it is his explosive acceleration that sees him make up ground and run underneath the ball.

With his speed, you would expect it to be hard for even mediocre quarterbacks to overthrow him, but he runs into problems because while his speed and burst are valid he lacks elite elusiveness to get in and out of traffic. However, he has shown to be a dangerous runner after the catch when he takes the short throw and exploits the crease to create a big gain. He can also win one-on-one battles on jump ball situations.

You can see that Diggs’ best attribute is his straight-line speed, as he is a gliding-type of runner who accelerates quickly, but when he changes directions, his failure to get in and out of breaks will see him sacrifice some speed. He can make defenders miss in the open field, but he just doesn't possess elite lateral agility to juke in tight quarters. He is more apt to utilize his straight-line speed to separate.

Diggs is willing to help his teammates downfield as a blocker, but this is an area that could use some development. He has the agility and competitiveness to mirror, but possesses only average strength and physicality.

Stefon Diggs Scouting Combine measurables

6-0/195 (4.46 forty)
31 1/4-inch arm length
10-inch hands
No bench
35-inch vertical jump
9-foot-7 broad jump
7.03 3-cone drill
4.32 20-yard shuttle<
No 60-yard shuttle

Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.


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