Darius Slay: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Mississippi State CB
Darius Slay is one of those prospects who has thrived during combine season, to the extent that he could even be drafted as high as the second round. It's been an impressive rise for the Mississippi State cornerback who was largely unheralded prior to his breakout sophomore season.
With great size and talent, he has the necessary ingredients to become a successful corner at the pro level. Here is everything you need to know about Slay.
Full Name: Darius Slay
Hometown: Brunswick, Ga.
High School: Brunswick High School
Slay started his college career at Itawamba Community College where he played two seasons of football. He then transferred to Mississippi State to finish out his career before declaring for the draft this year.
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Slay clearly improved for his senior season where his numbers rose in almost every major category. Still, he did have good moments in 2011, particularly his only interception that season which he took back for a 72-yard touchdown against his home state Georgia Bulldogs.
Although he had a total of five interceptions in 2012, Slay was also able to add one more long interception touchdown. This one went for 52 yards in the season opener against Jackson State. He finished the year tied for the SEC lead in interceptions, and he earned a position as second-team All-SEC.
Year Pos Solo Assists Total Loss Int Yds Avg TD PD FF
2011 DB 16 8 24 1 1 72 72.0 1 5 1
2012 DB 26 14 40 1 5 101 20.2 1 11 0
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40 Yard Dash: 4.36 seconds
Bench Press: 14 reps
Vertical Jump: 35.5 inch
3-Cone Drill: 6.90 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.21 seconds
(Pro day stats not included because Slay did not participate in most of them due to his happiness with his combine performance.)
Stats via NFL.com.
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
While in high school, Slay lettered in basketball and was also a standout in the 100- and 200-meter sprints.
He was the fastest defensive back at the combine, running a 40-time of 4.36 seconds.
Slay made the SEC Coaches' All-SEC second team after an impressive season where he tied ninth in the country with five interceptions.
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Despite the hype surrounding him, Slay is largely a raw prospect with a lot of growing left to do. He does have great speed, though, and since many teams covet speed, Slay won't be waiting at the NFL draft very long.
Slay is an aggressive corner with good length. He is skilled in playing the hands of the receiver and forces incompletions because of it. Slay's toughness translates when it comes to his run defense and special teams play. He's going to have to prove his speed at the combine, but he should go in the middle rounds.
Possesses an athletic build with long arms. Good quickness, fluidity and straight-line speed. Better than expected route-recognition given his lack of experience and has natural coverage ability. Reads the quarterback's eyes and shows a burst to close on the ball. Times his leap nicely to compete for 50-50 balls, showing good hand-eye coordination to at least disrupt the pass. Experience as a kick returner is evident in his open field running ability. Has good vision and the patience to allow blocks to set up as well as enough athleticism to make opponents miss in the open field.
Only has one year of starting experience at the BCS level and had plenty of opportunities to make plays starting opposite Banks, an established star. Is better in coverage than he is as a run defender. Struggles to get off of blocks and shows less than ideal aggression as a tackler, overall. Has a tendency to duck his head and swipe at ball-carriers' legs, resulting in missed tackles.
Darius Slay was a little known prospect at the beginning of the season, now it’s possible he could go before highly touted teammate Johnathan Banks. Slay is one of the most athletic corners in the draft with a long athletic frame. He’s new to the starting role, but made tremendous strides in coverage over the season. He’s shown plenty of potential to cover in both zone and man systems. In zone he can transition out of his back-peddle quickly to close separation and break on the ball.