Slay has lofty goals for the team, himself

Posted Jun 13, 2018

As cornerback Darius Slay enters his sixth season, he has some lofty long-term goals to use as motivation to keep improving.

Cornerback Darius Slay is coming off the best season of his career.

The Detroit Lions cornerback tied for the NFL lead in interceptions (8) a year ago, and made his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams.

Slay’s rise to becoming one of the best cover corners in the NFL has him thinking about some pretty big goals down the line.

“The ultimate goal is to win a championship,” Slay recently said after a minicamp practice. “My individual goal is to be in the Hall of Fame one day. I mean, that’s everybody’s goal. Whose goal in the NFL is not to be in the Hall of Fame? That’s crazy.”

The Hall of Fame is undoubtedly a lofty goal, but what would it take for Slay to get into the conversation one day?

Looking at the statistics from the modern era cornerbacks currently in the Hall of Fame, the group of 15 primary cornerbacks averaged 14 seasons of service between them, 54 interceptions and six Pro Bowl seasons.

Slay, who’s entering his sixth season, has 14 interceptions and one Pro Bowl to his credit. To hit the averages of the current Hall of Fame cornerbacks, he’d have to play roughly nine more seasons and average a little more than four interceptions per year with a good run of Pro Bowl appearances.

Slay, 27, often traveled with the opponent's best receiver last season. That meant squaring up against the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans and others. Slay responded by leading the NFL in passes defended (34). He also had the sixth lowest passer rating against (55.6) among the league’s cornerbacks.  

His colleagues recently named him one of the Top 100 players in the NFL (49).

There are a lot of motivating factors that fuel players to continue to work on their craft and keep getting better year over year. For Slay, it’s to one day be considered among the best all-time at the position.

“I just (have to) continue to be me and keep growing as a player,” Slay said. “That’s just the ultimate goal as me as a kid growing up. Everybody wants to be in the Hall of Fame.

“It (would) just be an honor to be in there. It’s not like I’m saying I’m going to get in there. But that’s just my goal to reach as my personal self because I love the game so much that I want to work hard to be in there.”