Everyone can rest easy now. The Detroit Lions have selected a cornerback with a high pick, hopefully suppressing the outrage over passing on Dee Milliner for Ezekiel Ansah.
Slay will likely start from the beginning, as none of the picks from last year have stood out so far. However, they will have the advantage of having an extra year in the system and they won't be fighting an injury.
However, they are Lions defensive backs. Injuries seem to find those guys at a ridiculous rate.
Anyway, Slay will be able to handle everything Gunther Cunningham throws at him schematically. He played both man and zone coverage in college. He'll enable the Lions to go with man-press coverage using Chris Houston as the lead corner or fall back into the zone that they've employed recently.
That's nice, but that's not why Martin Mayhew pulled the trigger on the rising corner. It's because he uses his 6' frame and 4.36 40-yard dash speed to make plays on the ball, notching five interceptions during the 2012 season.
The Lions were one of the worst teams at forcing turnovers in 2012 (17 takeaways, 11 interceptions). Being able to find the ball and make a play on it is something that is instinctual and will translate almost immediately.
There will be some growing pains as NFL wide receivers teach him the tricks of the trade. However, the struggle could very well be worth it as his ceiling is solid.
Surely, Jim Schwartz also appreciates Slay's willingness to get dirty. He's a solid tackler, which means he will be able to contribute on special teams as well.
As hinted in the introduction, this was a position of need for the Lions. They did bring in a couple young guys via the draft last year, but none have the talent of Slay. Dwight Bentley and Chris Greenwood can now fight for the nickel spot, as they should.
This move frees up Mayhew and company to find some offensive line or linebacking help, or even a wide receiver, in the third round.