Former ICC star Darius Slay selected by Lions in NFL Draft
FULTON, MS – Former Itawamba Community College football star turned Mississippi State Bulldog Darius Slay (Brunswick, GA) was selected as the 36th pick of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions >>> click here to see Slay being picked in the NFL Draft
"He's a man cover guy, he's played very well in the SEC and been productive and we've trying to find that big corner," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said about Slay in a post-draft interview. "We've talked about that and everybody's looking for that guy. He has got a lot of that same stuff. He's really good in press coverage, he's physical against the run, so we like this player. He's going to help us a lot."
Before participating in February's NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, he was thought to be a mid to late round selection before turning in the top performance by defensive backs in the 40-yard dash with a 4.36 time while his 12 reps in the 225-pound bench press ranked 12th amongst defensive backs, 35.5-inch vertical jump was 14th and his 4.21 20-yard shuttle was 16th.
Some mock drafts had Slay being selected as a first-round pick, but news of a torn meniscus raised medical questions with teams despite doctors saying the injury would not require surgery.
"They said I just need to ice it down because it's not that bad," Slay told Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com. "Nobody said I needed surgery."
The Lions aren't saying if he will be available for rookie minicamp or OTAs.
"It's still to be determined if he misses any time," coach Jim Schwartz said in a post-draft interview. "I think it's too soon to even be talking about it. We didn't draft him as a redshirt and we didn't draft him for further down the road. We drafted him to help us now."
Experts are expecting Slay to have an opportunity to start opposite of veteran cornerback Chris Houston.
"It's just a blessing and a great opportunity to showcase my talent on the next level," Slay said in an interview on NFL Network >>> click here to see the interview.
VIDEO: Slay talks with NFL Network's Melissa Stark after being picked by the Lions.
As a freshman at ICC, Slay earned first-team Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) All-State and National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-Region 23 honors after record 41 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack and forced two fumbles after only playing five games for Coach Jon Williams and the Indians.
After his stellar freshman season, he earned JC Gridwire Pre-Season Second-Team All-American honors heading into his sophomore season.
During his final season in Fulton, Slay recorded 32 total tackles, 1 tackle for loss, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while hauling in three catches for 63 yards and a touchdown to earn MACJC first-team All-State honors on defense and special teams after playing in all nine games.
Slay, who originally committed to Mississippi State out of high school, honored his original commitment by signing with the Bulldogs after getting offers from Kentucky, Georgia and Oklahoma State.
As a junior, he saw action in all 12 games and the Music City Bowl on special teams and in a reserve role as a defensive back for the Bulldogs. He recorded 23 tackles, four pass breakups and returned an interception for a touchdown against his home-state Georgia Bulldogs.
As a senior in Starkville, he started at defensive back in all 13 games and had 40 total tackles, six pass breakups and five interceptions with one returned for a touchdown to earn Coaches All-SEC second-team honors.
Darius is the third-straight former Indian taking his talents to the NFL joining 2012 third-round pick Lamar Holmes (Atlanta Falcons) and 2011 fifth-round pick and Super Bowl XVLII champion Pernell McPhee (Baltimore Ravens).
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