Detroit Lions select speedy cornerback Darius Slay in second round

Posted Apr 26, 2013

At the NFL Scouting Combine Slay ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds - the fastest time of any cornerback in attendance

Darius SlayCB Darius Slay and son Darion
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine back in February that one of the biggest requirements to play in his secondary is speed.

Well, the Lions certainly found their man in Mississippi State cornerback Darius Slay.

Slay, whom the Lions selected with their second-round pick (No. 36 overall) in Friday's NFL Draft, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at the scouting combine, which was the fastest time of any cornerback there.

"He's very sticky in coverage," Mayhew said of Slay. "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."

The Lions had a first-round grade on Slay. Mayhew said he fielded calls to trade back, but none of them were interesting enough to sway him from taking Slay.

"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.

"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."

With the selection of Slay (6-0, 192), the Lions now have a surplus of talented young cornerbacks on the roster, after taking Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green in last year's draft.

"You've seen what's happened to us in the secondary at the beginning of last year," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said. "We lost Bill Bentley and Chris Houston in that third preseason game and had to play the first couple games without those guys.

"You can never have enough good corners and he's a guy we think is going to be a good corner."

Slay is reportedly dealing with a torn meniscus in his knee, but the Lions don't seem too worried about it. They had him in Allen Park a couple weeks ago as one of their pre-draft visits, and undoubtedly did their medical homework then.

"We are aware of his physical condition and he's in good physical condition," Mayhew said. "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."

Schwartz said Slay's knee injury is nothing near as serious as Ryan Broyles' was last year when he was coming off a torn ACL and the Lions took him in the second round.

"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," Schwartz said when asked is Slay would miss any OTAs this spring.

"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."

Slay started his career at junior college before joining Mississippi State in 2011.

In two seasons at MSU, Slay played in 26 games, starting 13. He registered five interceptions, returning one for a touchdown last season.