LIONS INSIDER

Darius Slay brimming with confidence heading into 2015 season

Posted May 21, 2015

Cornerback Darius Slay seems ready to take his game to the next level.

There was a play in the first half of the Lions’ Wild Card game against Dallas last year when 6-foot, 192-pound cornerback Darius Slay jammed 6-foot-2, 220-pound Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant right to his knees.

That play -- and that game -- showed how far Slay has come since being drafted by the Lions in the second round in 2013.

Darius SlayCB Darius Slay (Photo: Gavin Smith)

By now we all know Slay's backstory. He was a high draft pick, had inconsistencies as a rookie, but found his game last offseason and became one of the better young corners in the NFL.

Slay matched up with Bryant, a first-team All-Pro a season ago, nearly the entire game back in January. Bryant finished with just three catches for 48 yards.

Slay’s never been one to lack confidence, but coming off a very good season in 2014, he seems ready to take his game to the next level in 2015.

“I’m ready. I’m confident. I’m ready to do whatever I need to do to be the best,” Slay told detroitlions.com. “I want to go against the No. 1 (receiver) anytime. I’m ready.”

Slay had a breakout year in 2014, ranking among the top 19 cornerbacks in the league per Pro Football Focus, and giving up just three touchdown passes in 17 starts (including the playoffs).

“Play ball and be the best I can be,” Slay said of his current mindset heading into this season. “I love to go against the No. 1 (receiver). That’s really what (the Lions) drafted me for, to be that guy, that No. 1 guy.

“That’s what I want to be and I’m working towards it and I’m going to get better this offseason to be that guy. Work, work, work. I’m taking any kind of feedback that’s going to help me be the best.”

Slay worked with Hall of Fame cornerback Rod Woodson last offseason both in the film room and on the field twice a day. Woodson is now on the Raiders’ coaching staff, so Slay didn’t work with him this offseason, but Slay said a solid foundation was built from their time working together, especially in the film room. He's worked hard this offseason to perfect the things Woodson showed him.

The Lions return their entire starting secondary from last season and Slay is excited to once again work with Rashean Mathis, Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo. He's also eager to continue the upward trend we've seen in his game over the last 12 months.

“I’m going to be the No. 1 guy this year,” he said. “I’m going to be the guy.”