Darius Slay out of Mississippi State is one of the top corners in the NFL draft. He's an instant starter and the Atlanta Falcons would be lucky to get him if he somehow slips to the second round. Alex Marvez of Fox Sports reported about the Falcons interest:
Marvez (@alexmarvez) April 13, 2013
Follow along as we dissect Slay's fit with the Falcons:
Mississippi State University
Height: 5'11-7/8" Weight: 192 pounds
Arm Length: 32-1/4" Hand Measurement: 9-3/8"
40 yard dash: 4.31 sec. 10 yard split: 1.50 sec.
20 yard shuttle: 4.21 sec. 3-cone Drill: 6.90 sec. Bench Reps: 14 reps
Vertical Jump: 35.5" Broad Jump: 10'4"
2012: 13 Games Played, 40 Tackles, 1.0 Tackles for Loss, 5 Interceptions, 6 Pass Deflections, 1 Blocked Kick, 1 Defensive Touchdown
2011: 13 Games Played, 24 Tackles, 1.0 Tackles for Loss, 1 QB Hurry, 1 Interception, 1 Fumble Forced, 4 Pass Deflections, 1 Defensive Touchdown
2010: Played at Itawamba (Mississippi) Community College
2009: Played at Itawamba (Mississippi) Community College
Darius Slay is arguably the most athletic cornerback in the entire draft this year. He's got great range and instincts. His fluidity is amazing and he has experience in both man and zone coverages. He's ideal in an off-man or zone scheme and would be a good fit for the Falcons' schemes.
He can break on the ball in coverage effectively and has excellent ball skills. His playmaking abilities will make a difference in any defense. He's also a very solid tackler and isn't afraid to come up and get dirty in run defense like most corners are.
Unfortunately, Slay has trouble in press schemes, and his hand technique is weak. He needs to make sure he tracks his receiver the entire time he is guarding them. He also isn't an extremely experienced player with just two years starting in the SEC. Slay should be able to learn the techniques needed once he hits NFL camps. He just has to show he's willing to improve from where he's at now.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
Slay was never arrested nor was he suspended. He is also known as a hard working player despite not being a team leader. There's nothing here that would say he would be taken off the Falcons board. An interesting note is that he may not have been great academically, but that hasn't stopped Atlanta before. Slay was current Falcon Lamar Holmes' teammate at Itawamba CC in Mississippi.
Slay is an instant starter at either corner or nickel. His great size, speed and strength makes him a high ceiling prospect. He's also got a very low floor so his talent will take some cultivating. But if he listens to the defensive coordinator, defensive backs coaches and veterans on his team, he could be a top 15 corner in the NFL sooner rather than later.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
Slay would have to be a second round pick at a minimum for the Falcons to get him. He's too good and could honestly slip into the first round. Slay's a talented corner who could be a centerpiece of the draft if the Falcons decide to stay at pick No. 30 to take a defensive end and trade up in the second round for their corner.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.