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Heaps: Why Seahawks getting a full season from Diggs is important

The Seahawks had 16 takeaways in five regular season games with Quandre Diggs. (Getty)

The Seahawks surprised many when they acquired safety Quandre Diggs from the Detroit Lions partway through the 2019 season, especially as it took just a fifth-round pick to get him.

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Diggs was dealing with a leg injury that delayed his Seattle debut, but when he was on the field, the difference was night and day. While the Seahawks overall fielded a poor defense last year in most metrics, Seattle was elite in one key category: takeaways.

During five regular season games with Diggs at safety, Diggs had three interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. The team overall had nine interceptions and recovered seven fumbles for 16 takeaways during that time. For the season, Seattle had 32 turnovers.

Now, one of the things to look forward to in terms of the Seahawks’ defense improving in 2020 is the potential of a full 16-game season with Diggs at safety.

Why is Diggs so critical to the defense’s success? Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy shared his thoughts on Tuesday’s show.

“I think Quandre Diggs, one, brings a nastiness and a toughness to this defense that they need and I think that he’s a guy that every player looks at and says ‘because he’s on this field, I therefore feel more comfortable and feel more free to be myself,’ which is critical and you have to have players like that it can’t just be (All Pro linebacker) Bobby Wagner,” Heaps said. “And that is another key piece (because) he’s setting the secondary and to me, that’s really important.”

Wagner, when talking to reporters this week, said that he expects the defense to be better in 2020 and singled out Diggs as a reason why.

“Having somebody like (Quandre) Diggs for a whole season will change things and it’s just one example,” Wagner said.

Heaps said in particular, Diggs is exceptional at making life hard for opposing quarterbacks in part because he’s so smart.

“Quandre Diggs it is a guy who really understands the game and shortens windows in concepts making it difficult on quarterbacks to find easy completions down the middle of the field specifically,” he said.

Like former Seattle safety Earl Thomas, a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro while with the Seahawks, Diggs played his college ball at Texas. That’s not where the similarities end, Heaps said,

“This is a guy who is not able to quite do it like Earl Thomas – there’s very few who have ever played the game to do it like Earl Thomas – but he has the ability to run sideline to sideline and cover a wide range of the field on the back end,” Heaps said.

Add all those up and Heaps said it’s easy to see why players and coaches are optimistic about having Diggs on the field for an entire season.

Listen to the second hour of Tuesday’s Tom, Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Jake Heaps on Twitter.

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