Darius Slay may be finally living up to his self-proclaimed “Big Play” name. After a rocky start to the season, Slay’s mouth seemed to be bigger than his game. Recently, the Detroit Lions third-year corner has exhibited the immense talent and on-field performance that we all came to expect from our second round pick. Perhaps overshadowed by fellow blossoming superstar, Ziggy Ansah, Slay has been a dominant force on our defense now for five straight games.
People are beginning to take notice, so much so, that even Pro Football Focus called Slay a “future all-pro” and a reason for optimism. The analytical website reinforced their opinion as Slay landed at number four on their top-rated cornerbacks of the NFL. Opposing quarterbacks are throwing a measly 30.8% completion rate when passing in his direction since week 8. That includes twice pitching a shutout against one of the leagues best, Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers gave a nice boost of confidence to Slay after their first meeting, calling Slay “one of the young best (corners).” In the three outings not against the Packers in the last five games, Slay has allowed an unreal total of a combined 35 yards against him.
Coach Caldwell commented on Slay’s recent terror,
“He’s one of those guys that has an incredible amount of talent. He has the speed, has the tenacity to play his position. He’s also one of those guys that, I think, is not affected necessarily by a bad play or a couple bad plays, that he’s able to come back.’’
Slay has a prime opportunity against the St. Louis Rams to continue his Revis-esque streak against a rather anemic receiving core, a fringe NFL QB, and a brand new offensive Coordinator.
“He’s been pretty consistent the last couple weeks, but like anything else, there’s always next game, there’s always another challenge, and he’s going to face a really unique one this week as well with Britt and also with Tavon Austin, guys that can get up the field and do some damage,” said Caldwell.
Unfortunately for corners, oftentimes the only stat line that really matters in determining awards is interceptions. That is the one department in which Slay is underperforming, albeit extremely difficult when no passes are going his way. Until, the picks go up, Slay will remain relatively unknown and the elite status may elude him.