Martin Mayhew’s Five Best Decisions
By Jeff Risdon
Building Up the Secondary
Mayhew tried to overhaul the secondary as one of his early moves…and failed miserably. His second effort fared much better, and it’s now one of the strongest parts of the team.
Forget the Chris Greenwood/Jonte Green/Bill Bentley failure. Mayhew got it right the second time around.
It started by bringing in Glover Quin at safety and drafting Darius Slay at cornerback in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Quin was an underrated acquisition who quickly became the reliable field general and playmaker on the back end. He remains one of the league’s best free safeties.
Slay started slow, even earning a benching in his rookie year. Once he got up to speed, Slay proved Mayhew’s decision to trust in him was savvy. He’s now a legitimate No. 1 cornerback who can shut down opposing receivers, a Pro Football Focus darling who is emerging as one of the top cover men in the NFL.
Mayhew also hit with Nevin Lawson in the 2014 draft and Quandre Diggs in 2015, his final draft class. Once Lawson got healthy, he emerged as a quality starting outside corner with the arrow pointing up. Diggs took over in the slot halfway through his rookie season and quickly became the best Lion at that position since, well, uhh…
2015 third-rounder Alex Carter missed his rookie year but still offers some promise. Even James Ihedigbo proved a solid bandage at strong safety for a couple of years before moving on after his wheels sort of came off as 2015 progressed.
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