Analyst: Lions Defensive Drop ‘Stunning’ After Quandre Diggs Trade

Quandre Diggs

Getty Quandre Diggs during a Seahawks game.

The Detroit Lions traded Quandre Diggs last season during the NFL trade deadline, and it was a move that few understood at the time.

Now, with the benefit of even more time to reflect, the deal is even more confusing to some. ESPN analyst Mina Kimes is just one person who can be counted as confused by the deal. As she said, Detroit’s defense only got worse after Diggs was traded to the Seattle Seahawks. The deal ended up being a steal from that team’s perspective.

The Lions were going nowhere last season and decided to trade Diggs. Whether the move was about football or about Diggs and his personality with the team has been open for debate in recent months, but it is true play declined without Diggs in the backfield.

This offseason, the Lions added Duron Harmon to fill their need at safety, and also have young players like Tracy Walker and Will Harris in the mix. From that standpoint, the group should be much improved this season, but it is clear the team struggled in the aftermath.

Whether the Lions get better without Diggs or not is now the big variable worth watching seeing as how bad they were late last year.

Analyst Graded Lions for Quandre Diggs Trade

Though the Seahawks didn’t use the trade as a springboard to bigger and better things in terms of winning the Super Bowl, they did fit Diggs into their defense seamlessly, and he figures to be a part of the mix moving forward for the team in the future.

As a result, the team’s move for Diggs was ranked fairly high in terms of a new list by ESPN’s Bill Barnwell rating all the trades made last season. Detroit’s move to dump Diggs placed at 16th on the list in the middle of the pack and was given a C+ grade.

Here’s what Barnwell wrote about the move:

“The Lions still haven’t really explained why they moved on from Diggs, a move that inspired his former teammates to lash out publicly against the organization. Detroit’s decision was Seattle’s gain, as the Seahawks were immediately able to sub in Diggs at their biggest point of weakness on defense. Seattle allowed a QBR of 31.2 with Diggs on the field, with that mark rising to 65.2 without their new safety.

Diggs’ late arrival in the Pacific Northwest and an ankle injury limited the University of Texas product to five regular-season games, but Diggs looks to be a massive bargain in Seattle.”

The Lions dealing Diggs was said to be more of a culture thing, but even though that might be the case, the team has still had to deal with the aftershocks of dealing him away. The safety position in the backfield took a dive as new pieces were shuffled in and the team struggled after the deal.

After the season, Detroit general manager Bob Quinn wouldn’t say much about the trade other than he felt it was the right move for the team to make at the time. Obviously, Seattle wouldn’t disagree with that notion much given how they benefitted in the end.

Quandre Diggs Trade Ripped Before

The Lions taking heat for this deal is nothing new. A few months back in his first game with the team, the team watched as Diggs had a huge debut on Monday Night Football with a key interception.

That led Ted Nguyen to proclaim on Twitter that he was stunned the Seahawks were able to acquire him from Detroit for mere peanuts. Here’s a look at what he said:

Peanuts, in this case, ended up being a fifth round pick in the 2019 draft. Still, with depth now thin at safety for Detroit, it looks more than a bit curious that the Lions would deal Diggs, especially given his fit with the Seattle team looking so perfect.

That’s a fact that most people who pay attention to the NFL can agree on.

Lions 2019 Defense Finished Statistically Horrible

Detroit had nearly the worst defense in the league by most metrics in 2019. As a whole, the Lions allowed too much yardage, giving up 6,406 yards on the year. As was pointed out, to put up numbers like that, it means the team has been giving up over 400 yards of offense a game.

Additionally, Detroit’s pass defense bottomed out as a league-worst outfit in 2019. The team allowed nearly 300 yards a game through the air, which is a miserable total.

Certainly, injuries helped complicate matters for Detroit’s defense, but that’s not an acceptable excuse for such awful numbers. Expectations were high for the Lions in 2019 given how they finished the season, and the team has taken steps to reconstruct things in the meantime.

It might be hard for the team to move on without Diggs, but that is what they will do in 2020 while trying to improve at his spot.

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