Hello Lions fans and welcome back to your weekly dose of hope for an eventual Super Bowl title! Key word being “eventual!”
Last week I had the pleasure of highlighting the Lions’ electric pass catcher, Theo Riddick. This week we’re doing a 180 to take a look at a rising star in the pass disrupting department…
2014 was a growing year for Slay. The 2nd round pick started to show a lot of promise throughout the season, but it wasn’t until he literally knocked Dez Bryant on his ass (in a playoff game that we’d all rather forget) that casual fans started to take notice. Leading up to the 2015 season, hopes were high that this kid could be a lockdown corner in his 3rd year.
Unfortunately, most of the defense struggled early in the season while attempting to adjust to the losses of Levy and Suh. During that stretch, most of the secondary was showing their age and the coaching staff stuck by the decision to keep Slay in one place. Despite a couple of lost jump balls in the Denver game – while having to battle some of the better receivers in the NFL – he was definitely showing that he was a starting caliber corner.
Then it happened. Rasheen Mathis took a nasty hit in the Lions 2nd meeting with the Vikings and didn’t look at all right after that. With unproven talent on his opposite side, Slay was given the go ahead to travel with the oppositions’ No. 1 receivers and damn it all if it shouldn’t have been that way all along. Remember off-season darling and fantasy favorite, Amari Cooper? He recorded a single catch for 4 yards against Slay. As for that guy in Wisconsin with the smug grin? Rodgers didn’t have one completion against him in two games. Now, stats like these don’t get headlines like interceptions do, but it’s hard to pile up the picks when quarterbacks are afraid to throw the ball your way. The Lions now have a corner that can take away your best weapon and force an opposing QB to find his other reads.
On top of finally providing the Lions with true lock-down ability at the cornerback position, he provides something else that’s been missing from the roster for a long while: attitude. He talks – and he talks a lot. It keeps his confidence high and can throw opposing receivers off their game. Plus, it’s just fun to watch. The Lions haven’t had a history of mouthpieces, but I think every team needs a guy with some swagger. Between Slay and fan favorite Golden Tate, they now have two.