With just a few weeks to go before the 2023 NFL Draft officially kicks off on April 27, Buffalo Bills superstar Stefon Diggs spent some time reflecting on his experience with the career-altering event. While Diggs is arguably one of the best wide receivers in the entire league, back when he forewent his senior year to enter the 2015 NFL Draft, he was not a first-round pick or even a second-rounder.
The Maryland alum was selected in the fifth round by the Minnesota Vikings as the No. 146 overall pick which put a motivational chip on his shoulder. After NFL Rookie Watch’s Twitter account named Diggs as their “favorite late round NFL Draft steal” on Saturday, April 8, Diggs retweeted the message and wrote, “Pay attention… I had to really go from WR7 to WR1.”
Coach Stephen Brown replied, “Say [it] again for the WRs in the back that think they’re really like that but don’t put the work in 😤,” to which Diggs responded, “Can’t cheat this work s***.” Super Bowl XLIV champ Jermon Bushrod wrote, “It woke up that dawg in you though,” and Diggs replied, “I’ll never forget how they tried to play wit me.”
Two-time Super Bowl champ Torrey Smith commented, “I remember telling multiple coaches/scouts from different teams to pick you. The hater ruined things though,” to which his former Baltimore Ravens teammate Michael Oher wrote, “Lord.” A fan chimed in, “Screamed at my tv for two days for the Ravens to take him. Baltimore has only ever won a Super Bowl with a Maryland WR on the roster.”
Diggs Sent a Series of Motivational Tweets to Upcoming Draft Prospects
Diggs, who spent five seasons with the Vikings before getting traded to the Bills in 2020 and has made the Pro Bowl every year since — went on to encourage NFL prospects to be “Purpose driven,” he tweeted, before admitting, “Boy that waiting to get drafted stuff really a tough experience.”
“Stay down ignore the noise. Grind like you only got 1 shot,” Diggs added. “Just make sure you ready when the opportunity presents itself.”
After being inactive for the first three games of his NFL career with the Vikings, Diggs earned himself the starting role by Week 6 before finishing the season as the team leader in both receptions (52) and yardage (720), per Pro Football Reference. Diggs broke the 1,000-yard mark for the first time during the 2018 NFL season, a feat he’s repeated every year since then. Throughout his career, Diggs has recorded a total of 703 receptions for 8,812 yards and 59 touchdowns.
Numerous 2023 NFL Draft Prospects Mentioned Diggs as a Mentor
Diggs isn’t just sending motivational tweets, the veteran has been an inspiration for several prospects entering this year’s draft. Fellow Maryland alum Rakim Jarett said Diggs helped him pick which college to attend. “He just said it meant more,” Jarrett, who hails from Gaithersburg, said of Diggs’ guidance to stay local, per the Bills website.
“Of course, I could have went to Alabama, Georgia or any type of school like that. But it means more when you stay home, and you do it for the fans that’s always rooting for you and you can always go back home and have a fan base that that believes in you and truly cares for you.”
Former University of Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim was also inspired by Diggs’ mark in the Maryland area. “His success led me to go to that high school,” Ibrahim said of Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. “It put that high school on the map, and then we kind of kept that legacy going…. I’ve met him a few times… he always would come back to the high school and stuff like that. I’ve also worked out with him once or twice.”
One of this year’s top prospects, USC alum Jordan Addison, named the All-Pro receiver as someone he models his game after, “Being able to separate at the top of the route and create separation,” Addison noted. “We played for the same Youth League team, and that was just a guy that I looked up to. And watching him growing up, he went to Good Counsel, and I went to a few of them games. So just playing in that offense with him would mean a lot.”