It may have been a little longer than most thought, but Maryland wide receiver Stefon Diggs finally was picked off the board in the fifth round.
Diggs, who had a third/fourth round grade heading into last weekend’s NFL Draft, ended up being selected with the 10th pick in the fifth round by the Minnesota Vikings. The former Good Counsel (Md.) star was the first wideout that the Vikings have drafted since Tennessee product Cordarrelle Patterson was drafted with the 29th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Minnesota hasn’t had a ton of luck with drafting the wide receiver position in recent years. Since 2005, the Vikings have selected nine wideouts and only had two that really have had strong careers.
Sidney Rice (2007) and Percy Harvin (2009) had productive careers with the Vikings before moving on to other teams. However, there were several that Minnesota missed on, including Troy Williamson (seventh overall pick, 2005) and Aundrae Allison (fifth round pick, 2007).
The Vikings did take a chance on Diggs in the 2015 NFL Draft, and it’s a move that could pay off in the near future.
If you look at Minnesota’s current wide receiver depth chart, it’s a logjam. Greg Jennings was released on March 14, just one day after Mike Wallace was acquired from the Miami Dolphins. After Wallace, wideouts Charles Johnson (31 catches for 475 yards & two touchdowns), Cordarrelle Patterson (33 catches for 384 yards & a touchdown), and Jarius Wright (42 catches for 588 yards & two touchdowns) put together decent 2014 campaigns.
Obviously, Diggs is going to start below these receivers on the depth chart. However, it’s not crazy to think that the former Maryland star could make an impact as a rookie.
First of all, kickoff returns is one of the many areas where Diggs excelled while with the Terps. He could take some of the pressure off Patterson, who hasn’t produced quite like the organization hoped he would when they used a first round pick on him two years ago. Having Patterson focus simply on catching the football definitely would benefit the Vikings.
During his Maryland career, Diggs had 1,472 kickoff return yards and a pair of touchdowns. He is as elusive a player as you’ll see in the open field.
As far as on offense, it’s hard to say just how much Diggs will produce as a rookie, especially given the logjam that the Vikings have at receiver. However, most of the guys in front of Diggs, aside from Wallace, have been known to be inconsistent at times.
Diggs is tough to peg. At Maryland, the former Good Counsel star played on the outside, but he’ll probably be relegated to the slot at the NFL level. Diggs may not have elite speed, but could really excel in the slot.
The Olney native has great awareness and catches the ball very well in traffic. Diggs also could be a force on third down as he’s very dangerous after-the-catch and could get those additional yards that the Vikings need for the first down.
Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t throw the most accurate the deep ball, so the Vikings offense is a lot of dink-and-dunk short passes. This really could get Diggs more involved as he is the type of dynamic playmaker that puts up big numbers after the catch.
The Vikings could also use Diggs out of the backfield, much like Percy Harvin was in the past.
While he still has a long way to go, Diggs definitely has all the makings of a solid NFL player and could excel in Minnesota’s offense.
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