After acquiring defensive back Quandre Diggs and a 2021 seventh-round pick from the Lions in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round selection back on Oct. 22, the versatile safety exceeded expectations during his first seven games with the Seahawks.
During his Week 10 debut, the fifth-year pro made an immediate impact by recording a pair of tackles along with a key interception, allowing Seattle’s offense to score their second touchdown of the game in an eventual 27-24 overtime victory over San Francisco.
In total, Diggs produced 21 tackles, tied for the team lead with three interceptions, deflected three passes, and forced a fumble during his five regular-season games with the Seahawks. Along with his impressive regular-season production, he generated eight tackles during Seattle’s two postseason games.
Before the Seahawks departed for a long offseason, coach Pete Carroll detailed how Diggs’ confidence and leadership played a major role in improving the play of the secondary during the second half of season.
“We played cleaner with him. He helped us in a number of ways. I’ll continue to tell you that he’s helping other guys play well. The confidence that he brings in adds to those guys,” Carroll explained during his end-of-season press conference. “I thought Bradley [McDougald] played better when he was playing with Q [Diggs] in the game. When he is in the game with the younger kids, he’s got to control quite a bit more as opposed to focusing on his play. I think you can see that help.”
With Diggs active and in the lineup, the Seahawks recorded a 5-2 record (including playoffs) and generated nine interceptions. During the two games he missed with an ankle sprain to close out the regular season, Seattle lost back-to-back games to Arizona and San Francisco, failing to create any turnovers in the defeats.
Based on these statistical differences, it's clearly evident the Seahawks’ secondary performed at a higher level when Diggs was playing at the free safety position. The rest of the defense, particularly his safety running mate McDougald, seemed to play faster and more assignment-sound with him manning center field.
Looking towards the 2020 season, Diggs will be with the team from the start of offseason activities, which should allow him to have an even greater impact on a young secondary. Assuming he can stay healthy and takes on a greater leadership role from the outset, he'll have a chance to make his first career Pro Bowl and help the defense take a positive step forward.