CB Darius Slay (Mississippi State) - Round 2, Pick No. 36
The Detroit Lions followed up their first-round pick of defensive end Ezekiel Ansah by going defense again in the second round. They decided to bolster their secondary by selecting Mississippi State cornerback Darius Slay, who became the fourth cornerback to be drafted by the Lions in the last two years. The Lions drafted three in 2012, and Slay was the one and only cornerback they took this year.
Slay transferred to Mississippi State in 2011 after beginning his career at Itawamba Community College. After his two-year stint at the junior college, Slay played two seasons for Mississippi State in the SEC.
What the experts are saying
Slay is an aggressive corner with good length. He is skilled in playing the hands of the receiver and forces incompletions because of it. Slay's toughness translates when it comes to his run defense and special teams play.
After playing in every game in 2011, his first at Mississippi State after transferring from JC, Slay showed marked improvement in his footwork, change of direction, ball skills and overall production as a senior. Blessed with excellent height at 6'0, athleticism, speed and ball skills, Slay will likely turn out to be a better NFL player than he was at Mississippi State. In addition, his time playing on special teams in 2011 will likely help him to make an immediate impact in the NFL while he continues to develop as a cornerback.
Slay has an above-average combination of size, feet and top-end speed. He can hold up on an island in man coverage, and flashes the ability to manufacture turnovers in pass defense. However, Slay is a juco transfer with limited experience, and he is still raw in terms of instincts and will lose position at times as a result.
2011: 24 tackles, 1 INT, 5 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 TD
2012: 40 tackles, 5 INT, 11 passes defended, 1 TD
- Herman Moore announces Slay pick
- Slay interception return for touchdown vs. Jackson State
- Slay blocked punt vs. Jackson State
- Slay interception vs. Auburn
- Slay highlights from his senior season
- Slay highlights from his junior college days
- Slay interview at draft
- Slay interview after being picked by Lions
Outlook for 2013
The Lions have many young cornerbacks on their roster, and Slay will compete with them for the starting spot at cornerback opposite Chris Houston. Even if he's not in the starting lineup, Slay should be in the rotation at cornerback, and he should also contribute on special teams (possibly as a returner).