Buffalo Bills: What Stefon Diggs can teach us about uncovering NFL draft value

Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)
Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Buffalo Bills
Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Bills should learn from Diggs’ draft history

Every team is looking for value in the NFL draft. While extreme examples such as Stefon Diggs are rare, there are players who fall in the draft every year. Looking at players such as Diggs, shows three criteria that teams and fans can look for to identify players who could provide extreme value.

First, teams should look for suppressed value. This could be due to any number of factors – from missing games due to injuries to personal issues impacting a player’s availability and ability to play. The key for teams is to identify factors that are not recurring.

In Diggs case, his injuries were freak in nature – a fracture and a lacerated kidney are not likely to recur. These can be contrasted to soft tissue injuries which may be more of an indication that a player is prone to injury. Similarly, his suspension and personal issues were isolated and not part of a larger pattern that should have caused concern.

The second criteria teams should look for is high character. The Bills love drafting players who were captains in college because it shows leadership, but this is not the only way to evaluate character. In Diggs’ case, he stepped up to provide and protect his younger brothers, sacrificing his own future and wants for them. Similarly, he worked extremely hard to come back from his injuries, showing resiliency and entering the NFL combine healthy when no one would have thought twice if he had taken more time to come back.

The third criteria is that the player should have an elite prospect profile. As we saw earlier, five-star recruits are rare. Typically these are the top-of-the-top physical specimens, the most elite physically gifted young men in the world. Five-star recruits do not often just lose their athletic ability. Even if they under-perform, they still possess talent and physical gifts that most people could never dream of. Whether at college or the NFL level, the challenge for teams is to tap into that potential.