Rick Osentoski/Associated Press
OTAs, minicamps, combines and pro days are always full of bluster and overstatement. We, the football-sponging public, demand so much information that we're often oversaturated with conjecture and extrapolation because someone was able to do an extra bench rep.
It's with that attitude that I approached the Darius Slay news. For those who haven't been following along, apparently, he's killing it, per MLive.com's .
Yet, when you start digging into why Slay is improving, it all makes enough sense that the optimism might be warranted.
First, Slay was adjusting to a new scheme that he didn't see in college. Mississippi State spent the bulk of it's time playing man, meaning Slay didn't have a very good feel for how to use his "zone eyes," as Rod Woodson put it to MLive.com's Meinke.
Adding to that invaluable experience is new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who is bringing a new aggressive scheme to Detroit. Slay will get to play significantly more man-press coverage, which will free him up to capitalize on his talents.
And those talents are immense. This is still the same kid who ran a 4.36 40-yard dash at the combine, per NFL.com, and put enough physicality in his college film to earn a second-round pick.
But lastly, there's the chill-out factor—the get-out-of-your-own-way instinct of the game that rookies have to let go off before they can excel. There's a reason that the rookies who often fare the best are those who play more instinctual positions.