Darius Slay   CB/FS   Mississippi St




Darius has excellent size and speed to play his position at a high level for the team that drafts him.  He shows excellent recovery speed and will track down just about anyone on the field to save a touchdown.  He has the ability to turn his hips and run with receivers in single coverage and does a good job tackling.  He has long arms that help him against the taller receivers and he's very smart in zone coverage.  His size will help him also in the red zone to shut down the bigger receivers and that alone is worth Darius being considered a high draft choice.  He shows good hands and the speed and vision to make yardage after he intercepts the ball and the skills to take it all the way back for a touchdown.  Darius plays in a defense that likes its corners to play with a 10-yard cushion on most plays and that means the corners have to be able to tackle and support the run.  This is a good thing for Darius because it shows his ability to be able to play more than one position for the team that selects him in their defensive backfield.   



In that defense that likes its corners to play with a 10-yard cushion on most plays where corners need to tackle and support the run, Darius hesitates before he attacks and is easy to block when the play comes his way.  He is not bad, but this little bit of hesitation will be magnified at the next level unless Darius learns to react more quickly to what he is seeing and makes the play instead of allowing others to make the tackle.  He also doesn't have that quick-twitch change of direction skills that you like to see in a top corner when he is used in man-to-man coverage.  He hesitates too much when receivers are making their cuts and allows too much separation.  My guess is he is trying to fool QB's into interceptions.  Darius is very susceptible to double moves because he hesitates before he makes his break on the ball or to the play.  He doesn't read receivers or make big plays unless he has coverage over the top.  That is smart, but in the NFL, a top corner doesn't get coverage over the top.  That coverage is saved for the corners who are more likely to get beat deep one-on-one.  Right now Darius does a lot of little things wrong and by themselves, will not be a problem but, put them all together and I'm not convinced that Darius' impact position is at the corner for the next level.



I think Darius would be an impact free safety for the team that drafts him.  He reminds me a lot of Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills free safety (see profile in THR archives). Darius will have to learn better techniques tackling in the open field, but the good thing is he is not shy of contact, he just hesitates to make decisions.  As a free safety, he would have just a little more time to make those decisions and would see things from the middle of the field in order to take better angles to the play.  In the red zone, he could cover as well as most safeties and in your nickel-dime packages, you will be able to use him as a single high safety with interception skills and the speed to cut off any big plays.


Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart