MIAMI – When cornerback Darius Slay came into the league as a second-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 2013, he was fortunate to have veteran players like Rashean Mathis and Glover Quin take him under their wings and show him the ropes.
Seven years later, Slay is now one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL. He made his third straight Pro Bowl appearance last week. An established veteran, Slay wouldn't mind paying it forward if the Lions decide to draft a young cornerback this offseason, maybe even former Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah with the No. 3 overall pick.
"I've talked to him already," Slay said of Okudah on radio row at the Super Bowl Wednesday. "He was like, 'Man, I love your game.' I told him to enjoy the moment and cherish the experience. It's a great experience. You only do it once."
Okudah is being mentioned among a handful of names in play for the Lions with the No. 3 pick. Okudah is widely considered the best cornerback available in this draft, a prospect with terrific length, playmaking ability and a cornerback who seems to fit Detroit's style of defense with terrific man coverage skills.
View photos of Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerback Darius Slay during NFC Pro Bowl practice Thursday, Jan 23, 2020.
"He's a hell of a player," Slay said of Okudah. "I've watched his film, watched some of his games. He competed at a high level. There's a lot of stuff I could help him with.
"You see how he makes plays. I see his feet. He do a lot of technique I do. Stand on top. Make plays on deep balls. He takes the deep ball away first, easily. With him being so quick and so long and aggressive, he can take away a lot of other stuff. He's a good player."
The Lions' defense was last in the NFL this past season against the pass and also tied for a league-low seven interceptions. Detroit needs more playmakers in the back end on defense, and Okudah is likely someone GM Bob Quinn and his staff will do a lot of homework on throughout the pre-draft process.
Slay was asked if he and Okudah would be a nice one-two punch at cornerback for the Lions next season, if the Lions did indeed draft him.
"Oh yeah, that would be," Slay said. "Yeah, we'll see how it turns out."