Darius Slay CB Mississippi State #9
Size/Athleticism: Adequate height. Has the speed to stay with just about any receiver. He’s quick-twitch athlete with the fluid agility to excel in coverage.
Coverage: Versatile corner who excels in both man and zone coverage, and can line up on the outside or take on smaller, quicker receivers in the slot. His technique is somewhat inconsistent. He doesn’t always stay low in his backpedal, which makes him a half-step slower when reacting to cuts by receivers. He seems to elevate his play based on his competition. When faced with his toughest challenges he seems to really focus and refine his fundamentals.
Ball skills: Decent hands, but he’ll drop some interceptions. When he’s in position to make a play, he’ll go up and challenge the receiver for the ball. However, he’s inconsistent with his ability to reach the quarterback. He needs to do a better job locating the ball and turning himself in the receivers.
Run support: Lacks the size to make a significant impact, but he’s willing to step up. He improved in this area during his senior year. Tackling is inconsistent due to his size, but he’s shown a willingness to go after bigger ball carriers. Typically takes the correct angles, and even if he isn’t able to make the play, he slows down the ball carrier giving up others time to step up.
Intangibles: Experienced on special teams. Used in special teams coverage throughout his career. Failed to qualify academically out of high school and played two years at JUCO. Only one year of experience as a starter.
Durability: Suffered a knee injury during combine drills.
Comments: You would think Slay would have been picked on as a first-year starter opposite the All-SEC Johnthan Banks, but opponents quickly figured out that he was equally dangerous. In fact, I like Slay more. While he is far from a polished product, I think Slay as the physical talents that you can’t teach. He needs to be much more consistent in his technique, but he has the tools. At worst, he’s a solid nickel corner at the next level.