Stefon Diggs just turned in the best season of his career, and NFL executives expect the Buffalo Bills receiver to stay at the top of his game in 2021.
ESPN recently polled a group of executives about players at all positions and used the assessments to come up with a comprehensive ranking. After leading the NFL in yards (1,535) and catches (127) last season, the group pegged Diggs as one of the top pass-catchers for the coming season as well.
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Diggs One of the Best
The poll ranked Diggs as the league’s third-best receiver for 2021, behind only Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers and DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals. In his assessment of Diggs, NFL writer Jeremy Fowler noted that there were some questions about how well Diggs would adjust to a new offense and relatively inexperienced quarterback in Buffalo, but he ended up thriving.
One of the NFL coaches surveyed by ESPN noted that Diggs has been overperforming his entire career.
“Years ago, one of [Minnesota’s] receivers got hurt and they put in this new receiver, Diggs,” said the unnamed AFC defensive coach. “Smaller guy, more of a slot receiver at the time — we figured it shouldn’t be a problem. We get in the game and he had a pretty damn good day. He’s been [great] ever since.”
There were also some concerns about whether Diggs would bring a bad attitude to Buffalo, a criticism he picked up during his time with the Minnesota Vikings, especially at the end of his tenure, but another AFC executive said that wasn’t an issue at all.
“He’s so competitive that his demeanor and ability had the opposite effect that some thought — he lifted the entire offense up with his standard of play and his ability to get open and make tough catches,” said the unnamed executive.
Others have not rated Diggs quite so high. A ranking of outside receivers from USA Today’s Touchdown Wire had Diggs at No. 5 overall, falling behind Adams, Hopkins, Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill and Allen Robinson of the Chicago Bears.
Bills Put Together a Top-Ranked Offense
Diggs isn’t the only member of the Bills offense to get some high marks going into 2021. In ESPN’s list of the top quarterbacks in the league, Josh Allen went from being unranked in 2020 (out of 10 quarterbacks) to No. 5 overall, with one executive ranking him No. 2.
After rookie and sophomore campaigns in which he struggled with accuracy and decision-making, Allen seemed to put it all together in 2020, executives noted. He set a number of team records last year, throwing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns. Allen also added another eight rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception, a campaign that earned him MVP votes.
“His biggest weakness is also what makes him so good — his competitiveness, and wanting to make the best play,” an AFC scout said. “He’ll hold onto the ball a little too long or bail on the pocket too early. He often gets away with that because he’s so strong and can break tackles, but against good defenses, he might press, and it gets him into trouble.”