The Ascension of Stefon Diggs

It shouldn’t be a real surprise (more on that later), but former Maryland standout Stefon Diggs has had quite the coming-out party in his rookie season so far.

He may not get the eye-popping adulation/frothing-at-the-mouth enthusiasm that some of his fellow rookies are receiving at the moment (I’m looking at you, Todd Gurley and your Madden-esque yards after contact numbers versus Cleveland and you, Amari Cooper, with your 500+ receiving yards thus far), but here’s something to consider.

The two names I mentioned have played more games than Diggs. Diggs, who saw his first action in Week Four, has amassed 324 yards, one touchdown, and some amazing catches (such as the one below).

He’s overshadowed veteran receivers such as Mike Wallace, Jarius Wright, and other non-Vikings (especially, and I hate to say it, most of the Ravens’ receiving corps; if I were Ozzie, I’d be kicking myself right now), ranking 48th in totals yards this season. It may not seem that glorious, but again, this is only after three games (the Vikes had their bye week already). If he continues this pace throughout the remaining 10 games of the season, voters will have another name to consider for Rookie of the Year.

And what’s amazing about Diggs’ ascension is this: he was a fifth-round draft pick who should’ve gone higher. And, no, that’s not just Terrapin Nepotism rearing its (sometimes) ugly head. The man should’ve been in Torrey Smith’s position from a couple years back. However, due to injury concerns (I mean, he had a lacerated kidney last year), potential “discipline” issues (see coverage regarding his actions before last year’s Maryland versus Penn State game; as a sidenote, the Maryland/Penn State game should be a legitimate rivalry), and height concerns (he’s listed as 6’0″ but looks like he could be 5’9.5″, 5”10″ max, if we’re being honest with ourselves), he slipped in various mock drafts.

Not to go all pro-Bleacher Report here, but the comparisons with Odell Beckham, Jr., may very well fit (even if they’re a bit premature). I mean, they both’ve had “catch of the year” candidates and they’ve both blown many of their contemporaries out of the water. However, here’s something that I feel that Diggs has on Beckham. While Odell Beckham, Jr. was (rightfully so) drafted in the first round last year, Diggs has that Steve Smith, Sr.-like drive to completely destroy everyone in his way to prove he belongs, to prove he should’ve been higher on everyone’s list going into the 2015 NFL Draft.

Beckham doesn’t have that (because he was expected to be great from the jump).

Additionally, Diggs has shown an ability to not as chippy thus far. Beckham, while amazing, has a penchant for trash-talking at an A++ level while still being at a C- level in experience on the NFL stage. That sort of thing, while fun to watch (and great for getting into defensive backs’ heads), can be a bit distracting if it occurs too often. If both Beckham and Diggs can say “screw the trash” and just do what they do, they’ll be continuously great players. 
But, this year, from a rookie standpoint? The dark horse for Rookie of the Year could very well be Mr. Diggs. And that’d, as a fellow Terp, would make me happy.


Speed on the Beat

Whatever you need to know about me, you can find out on Dad of two, cat dad (of two), mental health advocate, Team Support Dope Music in All Its Forms.

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