Matt Miller of Bleacher Report recently ranked his top 101 corners based off of the 2015 season. Four Lions players made the list and some were higher than others. Slay was the most impressive grade and came in above some big-time players. Check out below where each Lion fell on the list.Per Matt Miller,
94. Nevin Lawson, Detroit Lions 76/99
Coverage: 60/75; Run Defense: 5/10; Tackling: 2/5; Position Value: 9/9
Nevin Lawson didn’t play much for the Detroit Lions in 2015, but when he did play he proved to be a volatile defender. Lawson’s footwork was inconsistent, causing him to lose at the line of scrimmage and bite on route fakes that weren’t especially deceptive.
64. Rashean Mathis, Detroit Lions 80/99
Coverage: 62/75; Run Defense: 6/10; Tackling: 3/5; Position Value: 9/9
Rashean Mathis had his season cut short, and afterward he announced it would be his final one in the NFL. Mathis can retire comfortable in the knowledge he finished out his career by playing consistent, reliable football for the Detroit Lions. He didn’t have the physical talent of his peers but made up for it with his footwork and awareness in his assignments.
56. Quandre Diggs, Detroit Lions 81/99
Coverage: 61/75; Run Defense: 9/10; Tackling: 2/5; Position Value: 9/9
It took Quandre Diggs a long time to take over the slot cornerback role in Detroit, but when he did he never looked back. Diggs shows off the foot frequency and awareness to be trusted in tougher assignments. Even though he’s not particularly tall, he does make the most of his length to work against smaller receivers in tight coverage. 6. Darius Slay
6. Darius Slay, Detroit Lions
Darius Slay is the most overlooked cornerback in the NFL. The Detroit Lions defensive back played outstanding football in 2015, combining good size with quick feet and awareness to excel in the different coverage assignments the Lions asked of him. Slay carries a fluid frame and relies on his ability to disrupt receivers through their routes and at the catch point. He understands how to use his length against receivers so that he can be physical without being so aggressive he will be flagged unnecessarily. Slay has 19 pass breakups over the past two seasons because of his awareness at the catch point.
Run Defense 5/10:
Slay is a smooth cornerback. He naturally flips his hips to change direction in coverage. That trait also comes in handy when he is changing direction to transition from coverage to run support. He has the size and physicality to counteract blockers and bring down bigger ball-carriers, but there are question marks over his intensity closing to the line of scrimmage.
Slay is a form tackler who makes the most out of his length and smartly wraps the legs of bigger ball-carriers. He missed just four tackles on over 1,000 snaps last season. He has an ideal combination of size, strength and athleticism to be a great tackling cornerback.
Position Value 9/9
Other Notable Players:
75. Janoris Jenkins, Ex-St. Louis Rams
8. Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers
7. Darrelle Revis, New York Jets
1. Tyrann Mathieu, Arizona Cardinals
See the full list here.