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There are a lot of red flags that can drop a player’s stock in the draft process, but few things can drive value down more than multiple injuries.
Injuries have followed Maryland wide receiver and fifth-round draft choice Stefon Diggs throughout his college career. As freshman, he played through a lingering ankle injury, missing one game and being restricted in several others. As a sophomore, he suffered a broken fibula that required surgery. Last year, he took a helmet shot reaching the ball out for the end zone and suffered lacerated a kidney.
Injuries are a part of the game, but the list of injuries Diggs has sustained contributed to his dropping to the fifth round, but he said he wasn’t overly concerned about the drop in his draft stock.
“I wasn’t really worried about where I would go,” Diggs said. “I was just praying and hoping that I would fall in the best fit for me and it happened. It worked out really well, so God blessed me.”
Despite being a second-team All-Big Ten selection last year by the coaches and an honorable mention All-ACC pick prior to Maryland relocating conferences, there were a slew of wide receivers that came off the board prior to Diggs hearing his name called.
While it could have been the source of frustration, Diggs refused to let the agonizingly long wait get to him. He’s been accustomed to dealing with pain.
“I wasn’t frustrated at all,” Diggs said. “It’s a great group of guys (at wide receiver). Everybody got blessed with an opportunity and I’m pretty sure everyone is thankful just like me. It wasn’t so much being frustrated. I was just praying for the best fit for me. This is the best fit. They took a chance on me and I’m look forward to working.”
What sort of role Diggs may be able to carve out with the Vikings will be determined during the spring and summer, but one advantage he brings is experience as a kickoff returner. Anything extra a late-round pick can offer is always as bonus and Diggs is looking forward to the opportunity to play with Teddy Bridgewater.
“Teddy is a great quarterback with a great young team and I look forward to being a part of that team and growing in this whole process,” Diggs said. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be coached by some great coaches and playing with some great guys.”
Whether the coach he spends the most time with is Norv Turner or Mike Priefer doesn’t matter to Diggs at this point. After a career littered with setbacks, all he wants is an opportunity to get his foot in the door. His talent will take care of the rest.
“I am going to play all positions that they want me to play,” Diggs said. “Anything they ask me to, I’m going to bring it to the table. I want to contribute any way I can to this team.”