Last year, the Detroit Lions’ pass defense ranked 13th overall in the NFL. Instead of trying to improve even more by rehauling the secondary with free agents, Detroit elected to stick with consistency, at least among the starters.
Starting CBs Rashean Mathis and Darius Slay, and starting safeties Glover Quinn and James Ihedigbo, have all returned, and Slay is as excited as anyone about that.
“It’s been great keeping the guys together, man,” cornerback Darius Slay said. “It’s all about building chemistry and a family. We’re a big family.
But while the starters have returned, the makeup of the nickel and dime sets may look a tad different than years past. Specifically, with Bill Bentley getting released during OTAs, the opportunity opened up for 3rd round draft pick Alex Carter to battle with fellow new additions Chris Owens and Crezdon Butler for the first option in the after Slay and Mathis.
Carter, a rookie out of Stanford, still has a lot of learning to do in order to make the impact he hopes to in the NFL and with the Lions, but Slay has taken him under his wing
, and so far, has been impressed with what he’s seen.
“Oh, man, great competitor,” Slay said of Carter. “Big. I love big corners. Big, aggressive, and he’s willing to learn. Smart guy because of Stanford, but other than that, he’s smart with the football. He’s well-spoken. He asks questions a lot.”
While we are yet to see how the depth chart will shake out, Carter looks to have the inside track as the third corner for the Lions heading into training camp. Much of his growth may depend on what Slay can teach him, but if Carter can develop anywhere near the way Slay has, Detroit will be in good shape going forward.
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