Stay or Go: Darius Slay Can’t Do All The Work At Cornerback

Darius Slay Needs A Reliable Teammate At The Number Two Cornerback Spot

The secondary, especially at the cornerback position in 2016, was a revolving door. Darius Slay battled injuries, Quandre Diggs missed the final five games, Ian Wells never hit the field, and Adairius Barnes had lingering issues with his body. Johnson Bademosi had to start several games, something he isn’t used too, Asa Jackson was a late season addition that didn’t prove himself and Alex Carter hasn’t made an impact since being drafted.

Detroit needs some help as Darius Slay was the best cornerback on the team, and in a class of his own. Lawson and Diggs both moved up on the depth chart this season and it proved to be too much for them. Luckily for Detroit, the draft class this year is deep with talented cornerbacks and there are a few free agents that Detroit should target for next season.

Darius Slay

Another great year for Darius Slay. He was clutch this season, making big plays when it mattered most. Without Slay, Detroit wouldn’t have won two of their nine games. While that isn’t that big a number, he still shows his worth off his new contract extension. Slay is the best cornerback on this team, moving on from him would be a step back for the team.

Decision: Stay

Nevin Lawson

Lawson had an average year. Getting 45 tackles and nine pass deflections Lawson was an alright number two. He fits the number three cornerback role more and while he wasn’t the best number two, he did what he could do. Lawson played his first full season and seems to be getting better.

Decision: Stay

Quandre Diggs

Diggs was doing well again his second year. He suffered a pectoral injury that cost him the last five games of the season and Detroit could have used him in some of those games. Diggs was like Lawson, playing one level too high. Diggs is better as a number four than number three, so the only way Detroit can fix these issues is finding the right guy to be the number two.

Decision: Stay

Adairius Barnes

Starting one game and appearing in seven total, Barnes wasn’t impressive. Only three tackles and not much else, along with dealing with injuries for most of the year, Barnes doesn’t seem to fit. While he most likely will be back for Training Camp, expect him gone when it comes down to the 53 man roster.

Decision: Go

Alex Carter

It’s time to end the project of Alex Carter. The former third round pick only appeared in one game last season. He missed all of 2015 and was on the practice squad for 2016. Carter is a bust from the Mayhew era and a piece that Detroit needs to cut ties with.

Decision: Go

Asa Jackson

Everyone knows who Asa Jackson is. Coming into Detroit when Darius Slay was banged up again, Jackson had a horrible game. His coverage was lacking and it cost Detroit many times. He left too many guys open and seemed more of just a body on the field instead of a cornerback. He was signed because Slay was hurt, so if Slay didn’t get hurt he wouldn’t be here. Now that Slay is healthy, it’s time to go.

Decision: Go

Johnson Bademosi

For a strict special teams player, Bademosi didn’t lack skill at cornerback. Bademosi had to start three games this year with Diggs and Slay getting hurt. While there were times it was clear that he used to only play special teams, other times he showed he can play both. Bademosi is a solid number five and also is good on special teams, which Detroit needs.

Decision: Stay

Crezdon Butler

The former hero in Lambeau, Butler didn’t do much in 2016. Only appearing in one game, Butler is more of a practice squad body. Butler, like Barnes, will be a practice squad body again.

Decision: Go

Ian Wells

The undrafted free agent missed the entire season with a knee injury. Now if he can prove his worth in the preseason and Training Camp, then he could be the number six. If he can’t then maybe either Butler or Barnes takes the spot, or Detroit goes with five cornerbacks.

Decision: Stay

Possible Replacements

  • Prince Amukamara
  • Dre Kirkpatrick
  • A.J. Bouye
  • Logan Ryan
  • Sidney Jones, Washington
  • Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State
  • Marlon Humphrey, Alabama
  • Gareon Conley, Ohio State
  • Quincy Wilson, Florida
  • Jalen “Teez” Tabor, Florida
  • Cordrea Tankersley, Clemson
  • Corn Elder, Miami FL
  • Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado

Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @BKnappBlogs, find me on Reddit at /u/sportsguy4life and share your thoughts on the Detroit Lions subreddit.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp

Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.