LIONS EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF FOOTBALL OPERATIONS AND GENERAL MANAGER MARTIN MAYHEW
Opening Statement: "Darius Slay, 6-0, 4.35 cornerback. He's very sticky in coverage. You know, we talked earlier about some of those traits of the big corners. He's got a lot of that type of skill set. He's going to be a great fit for us. We've done some investigation. We're very aware of where he is physically right now. We're very comfortable with that. But he's going to be a good player for us."
On where Slay is physically: "We are aware of his physical condition and he's in good physical condition. He visited with us in the last couple weeks and we're on top of that. We are aware that there is a physical issue with his knee. We're aware of that and we're comfortable with that."
On when he will be healthy to participate: "I can't speculate to anything about that. We're aware of it and we're very comfortable with it."
On what expectations he has for Slay's first year: "He's got that kind of skill set. I mean, like I said, he's 6-0, he's 4.35, he's a man-cover guy. He's played very well in the SEC and been very productive. We've been trying to find that big corner. We've talked about that, you know, and everybody's looking for that guy. He has got a lot of that same stuff. He's really good in press coverage, he's physical against the run, so we like this player. He's going to help us a lot."
On if the Slay pick was unanimous when they saw he was still available: "Yeah, we were very excited about him. We had the defensive coaches in there and they were talking about how they would use him. I mean, even going back into yesterday, he was a guy that we're talking about."
On how these first two draft picks will help the team: "Well, we came into this draft with an objective. You know, we wanted to get bigger, we wanted to get faster and we wanted to get more athletic and we've done that with our last two picks. A guy like Ziggy Ansah, the athlete that he is, the size that he brings to the defensive end position. Darius Slay, the size he brings to it. Our division is a very physical division, the NFC North. We've got to be able to physically match up with these guys, and these two guys give us the opportunity to do that."
On if Slay would have been higher on the board without his injury concern: "I think so. I think he's high on a lot of boards. He's very high on a lot of boards. Going into last night, as we talked about it, we felt like he was a guy we should definitely target and try to get in the second round."
On if this was a situation where player grade and need matched up: "Absolutely. I mean, it's twice, back-to-back. The grade we had on the player, the need that we have on our football team, cornerback was a priority for us coming in despite the fact that we drafted three guys. We felt like the right guy was there, one of the size guys was there and we would go after that player."
On if he feels he got a first round pick out of a player like Slay in the second round: "We had a first-round grade on him. I can tell you that right now. We had a first-round grade on Darius Slay:"
On if the team had any calls to trade: "We did have a lot of calls. People wanted to trade up. We didn't have as many yesterday, but we had several today from teams that wanted to move up and we were weighing moving back and trying to still get Darius, or should we take him. We decided to just go ahead and take him."
On if Slay's junior college background is of any concern: "It is a little bit. We are concerned about that. But you go back to the tape. You go back and you watch him play against the highest level of competition in college football, the SEC. When you go in there looking at Johnthan Banks, this guy catches your eye and you see the 4.35, you see the size this guy has, how physical he is, how strong he is. He's a good tackler, a good blitzer. You see all those traits from him and you get excited."
On the expected competition at cornerback: "Yeah, I mean, it should be great competition back there. Not just them, but Ron Bartell and we've got some other developmental guys in the secondary. Conroy Black and guys who we've been training and working on, Ross Weaver. So, I see a very competitive situation in our secondary this year, safeties and corners."
LIONS HEAD COACH JIM SCHWARTZ
On his scouting report on Slay: "Not a whole lot different than Martin (Mayhew). You know, he's 5-11.7, just a tick under 6-0. He ran really fast. He's sub-4.4. He's a guy that played in the Southeast Conference and another guy that when you watch the tape, he really stood out. Athletic, overlapped, made plays on the football, tackled, all those things that you look for in a corner. Part of the deal is you have the Draft the first day and then you have to wait around the whole second day. You have the anticipation and there was a small group of players at the top of that second round that we had our eye on. I think all the teams have their eye on the same type guys, but we feel very fortunate to have a chance to be able to get him at that spot."
On getting to know Slay during Slay's visit: "Yeah, I mean, that's a part of everything. Scouts go out on the road and they meet with him and they watch him practice. We got a chance to be with him at the Combine for a little bit. Then you get him in here and you can get a full day in, watch some film with him. You can learn a little bit more about him. You always have more of a comfort level with those guys."
On if the Lions have enough injury cushion in the secondary now: "This isn't a long-term injury, from the information that we have. With (Ryan) Broyles, Broyles was coming off an ACL. That was a completely different situation."
On the cornerback competition: "Yeah, you've seen what's happened to us in the secondary at the beginning of last year. We lost Bill Bentley and Chris Houston in that third preseason game and had to play the first couple games without those guys. So, you know, you can never have enough good corners and he's a guy we think is going to be a good corner."
On the objective of getting bigger and faster: "Well, obviously with Ziggy (Ansah), it's pretty obvious when you say bigger, even faster with him. When you talk about corners, you're not exactly saying that a shade under six feet is big, but that's a good-sized corner and he does have big speed. But as much as we're looking to do that, we're also combining that with the tape and we're looking for football players. Darius played very, very well. You know, he's a junior college transfer. He only had two years at Mississippi State, but really made an impact this year. He made a lot of plays on the ball and we were pleased with what he did."
On what kind of corner Slay is: "He's an outside corner. I mean, all those guys can swing both ways. But, you know, Bill Bentley did both of them for us last year when he came in. He just sort of had an aptitude. We'll keep an open mind on all those guys, but primarily we probably drafted him as an outside corner. Anything else we get will be a little bit of a bonus."
On how patient you can be through Slay's injury: "He can still be here and he can still be learning through stuff like that and it's still yet to be determined if he's going to miss any time and how much he would miss. I think it's too soon to be even talking about stuff like that. You know, we didn't draft him as a redshirt. We didn't draft him as a guy for further on down the road. We think he can get up to speed pretty quickly, both physically and mentally and help us on the field this year."