Detroit Lions: Is Darius Slay better than Xavier Rhodes?

Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images /

The focus is on the Minnesota Vikings and cornerback Xavier Rhodes this weekend, but is Detroit Lions Darius Slay the better defensive back?

This week, you’re going to hear a lot about Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes, his first-team All-Pro designation at cornerback and his importance to the Vikings defense. Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay was also selected as a first-team All-Pro this season at defensive back, so let’s see how these NFC North rivals stack up against one another.

Rhodes finished the season with two interceptions and 44 tackles. He added 12 passes defended to his stat sheet for 2017. Slay finished his 2017 campaign tied for the league lead with eight interceptions, a fumble recovery and 55 tackles. To go with it, Slay had 34 passes defended.

Since entering the league in 2013, Rhodes has nine interceptions for 156 yards and a touchdown, 60 passes defended, two forced fumbles, 223 tackles and 39 assisted tackles. In that same time frame, Slay has 14 interceptions for 139 yards, 74 passes defended, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, 221 tackles and 38 assisted tackles.

It’s almost like we’re looking at the stats of the same player drafted in the same year. The biggest differences are Slay’s five more interceptions and Slay’s 14 more passes defended. So, why does it seem that Rhodes keeps getting more national media attention while Slay and his finger wag has near identical – if not, better – statistics? The answer is simple; his team has won more games and is preparing to host a playoff game.

This must be a case where the stats don’t tell the full story. Because if you look at the stats, Slay has more game-changing plays on his resume. And Lions fans will be quick to point out the two touchdowns given up by Rhodes to Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones on Thanksgiving this season.

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Does this mean Slay is better than Rhodes? The stats say yes. If you look at how they play and the effect they have in their own defensive schemes, then things might look a little different. Both are playing some great football, so let’s not think we’re saying one is good while the other isn’t. Slay’s Pro Bowl nod and All-Pro selection just need a little more attention in comparison to a certain Vikings player this week.