Detroit Lions Midseason Grades: Cornerback Report Card

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Darius Slay

Sep 29, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) makes a touchdown reception over Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (30) in the fourth quarter at Ford Field. The Lions won 40-32. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


Slay obviously has all the tools to be a successful defensive back, but he obviously isn’t ready yet. PFF grades him at -6.4 overall on the season, worst of all the Lions’ defenders and 102nd in the NFL, just three spots better than fellow rookie Dee Milliner.

Still, he’s a rookie cornerback. There’s a reason most defensive coordinators don’t like to start young corners, and Slay is the embodiment of it. There is plenty of time for him to improve.

Grade: D


Slay began the season as a rookie starter, but the Lions thought better of that notion after opposing quarterbacks realized they could pick on him.  He has shown a lot more “oh no” plays than “wow” plays early in his career, but again, he’s a rookie, so he gets a partial pass. He has played much better in a reserve role than he did as a starter.

Grade: D+

Vs. Expectations

Slay was a second-round pick, so expectations were high for him coming into the season. But he was a rookie cornerback in a retooling secondary, so they really shouldn’t have been. Slay is not playing great, but he’s improving incrementally. He’s right about where he should be right now.

Grade: C-


It’s disappointing that Slay couldn’t have taken the starting cornerback job and run with it, but sometimes a run on the bench is necessary. Even Richard Sherman didn’t start every game his rookie season. They Slay wasn’t ready from Week 1 doesn’t mean he’s a bust, it just means he’s not superhuman.

Grade: D+