Apr 26, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Darius Slay (Mississippi State) holds his son Duron Slay as he is introduced as the number thirty-sixth overall pick to the Detroit Lions during the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions Minicamp: Darius Slay Making An Impact

Darius Slay was a potential first round pick after clocking a 4.36 forty time at the combine, until questions arose about his knee. Slay didn’t fall too far, going in the second round to the Lions, but after the media found out about his surgery, fans began questioning the pick. The Lions can’t afford to spend high round draft picks if the players can’t play from day one, and being sidelined makes that a tough feat to accomplish.

Apr 24, 2013; New York, NY, USA; NFL draft prospect Darius Slay interviews at the NFL Play 60 Youth Football Festival at Chelsea Waterside Park. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Since then, Darius Slay’s name has been buzzing throughout minicamp with nothing but positive reports.

On the first day of camp he turned in two interceptions, but that wasn’t the only thing that stood out. Head coach Jim Schwartz had this to say about Slay’s performance at camp:

“The thing that was also good is his ability to put his body in good position and leap and time that and find that football. Those are the things we saw from him at Mississippi State. He hasn’t been on the practice field very much for us. He’s just now sort of getting into it where he’s going through team (drills) and all the other stuff that we do. But he’s picking it up quickly and athletically, he looks like he has some pretty good skills. We need to see more of it.”

Schwartz isn’t the only coach who has been impressed with Slay’s play. Gunther Cunningham was even more complementary of Slay:

“I don’t know if he knows he’s in the NFL or not. “That is a good thing, trust me. Somebody asked me about him. I said, ‘He has no conscience.’ That may be the number one criteria for any corner you want on your team. He doesn’t let things bother him.

Slay has exactly what the Lions have been missing the last three seasons at cornerback, size, speed, athleticism, and most importantly as Cunningham pointed out, swagger. Lions fans have to love what they are hearing this offseason about the defense, which is widely considered the weak link on the team.

It’s good to see that Slay is making an impact and healthy, but the real test will be how he plays in training camp when the pads come on. Never the less, Lions fans have to like what they’ve been hearing about the secondary in what’s turning out to be one of the best position battles for the Lions. Slay will be competing for the vacant starting corner job against Ron Bartell, Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood, and Jonte Green. So far Ron Bartell has been taking first team reps, but Slay should have every opportunity to take that job from Bartell with the Lions investing a second round pick in him. It’s looking like that was a very good decision by the Lions.

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