The more and more I read and watch film on Darius Slay, the more and more I think the Detroit Lions made a very astute pick in the second round of the NFL draft. The potential here is this, Slay, out of Mississippi State, could fill two needs on this team from day one. He looks to be the favorite to start opposite Chris Houston in the Lions’ secondary and he could replace Stefan Logan in the return game. If he does one or both of these things, he will likely be looked at as a successful draft pick. With that being said, with every Lions’ draft pick there is always a bit of drama.
We have seen this team draft impulsively and fail to take medical information into account when drafting certain players (aka Jahvid Best) and the issue with Slay is he has a problem with his meniscus. That is a knee injury and many football players have them but until he takes the field and proves that he is healthy, long-time Lions fans will have that nagging doubt about him.
He looks to be a great corner and paired with Houston he could do very well. This will force opposing offenses to pick their poison when going down the field. My suspicion right now is we will see opposing teams try and exploit the Lions’ weaker LB corps with passes over the middle and short routes forcing the linebackers into coverage. That is of course if Slay starts. That is the real issue with his drafting, he will have to prove himself over the corners the Lions drafted last year. It seems likely he will be able to do that but this coaching staff has been reluctant to give big playing time to rookies of late; maybe because of the mess they helped create with defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Slay should be the kick and punt returner from day one if healthy and once he proves himself to this coaching staff, it seems like a lock that he will be one of the starting corners. A team in the position that the Lions are in should be drafting guys in the first two rounds that not only come in and start but are productive. That is how we will measure the success of this draft. If Slay and Ezekiel Ansah do not start from day one we have to start assuming the Lions made a large error with both of these picks.
Only time will tell now.