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First-team reps in spring gave Detroit Lions cornerback Quandre Diggs confidence

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Quandre Diggs took a small break during his five-week hiatus from the Detroit Lions. He vacationed in Cancun, Mexico, for a little bit and then went back to the University of Texas.

He trained there while in college so as he embarked on his rookie season, he figured he would continue do the same. Plus, he’d still be working out with other veterans who went to Texas, including Kenny Vaccaro.

When he showed up in Austin, he had a little bit more confidence, too.

During the spring, the sixth-round pick split first-team reps with veteran Josh Wilson. That the Detroit coaching staff felt good enough about Diggs to even put him out there -- especially when other rookies who might have bigger roles in 2015 were receiving mostly second-team reps -- helped.

“It definitely helped a lot,” Diggs said as he arrived for training camp Tuesday. “It gave you the confidence to know that you are actually working for something. Working for an opportunity that you can go out there and get a starting job.

“I think that’s a big deal and something I am looking forward to.”

Diggs should have every chance at the starting job when training camp opens Monday in a fairly open nickel corner competition. Wilson, who played in Atlanta last season, is the other likely candidate for the job.

The Lions cut last year’s starting nickel, Bill Bentley, after minicamp ended. Nevin Lawson, who replaced Bentley as the nickel last season after Bentley tore his ACL, is still returning from a foot injury that ended his season.

Lawson said Tuesday he has been running and nearing 100 percent, but wouldn’t give specifics about whether or not he has been cleared for full practice after not participating in team drills during the spring. The Lions also signed veteran corner R.J. Stanford on Tuesday.

But Diggs has a wide open shot at the job, and starting Monday he’ll be trying to win it outright.

“Just want to go out and contribute,” Diggs said. “Try to contribute to this team as much as I can. Go out and make plays, which they brought me in to do and that’s what I plan on doing.”