Lions LB Devon Kennard joins Cost-free Press’ Dave Birkett to chat about enhancement of the protection, Matt Patricia, a lot more at Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 1, 2019.
Dave Birkett, Detroit Cost-free Push

ATLANTA — Pro Football Corridor of Fame defensive again Rod Woodson did not have a firm record when requested to identify the major five cornerbacks in the NFL in the course of a Super Bowl celebration past 7 days, but the NFL Community analyst and previous Oakland Raiders assistant stated Detroit Lions corner Darius Slay is “definitely” in that group.

“He’s just one of the major five, he absolutely is,” Woodson stated. “I haven’t graded them all, but off the major of my head he’s in the major five.”

Slay qualified early in his profession with Woodson, who also pointed out Jalen Ramsey, Xavier Rhodes and Denzel Ward as major-five cornerbacks, and the two nonetheless remain in touch sometimes.

Woodson stated he’s viewed great development in his protégé, although he’d like to see Slay “be a little bit a lot more of a fundamentalist at moments.”

Slay, who designed his next straight Professional Bowl this season and is the NFL chief with 91 passes defensed given that he entered the league in 2013, stated Woodson’s comments are validation of all he’s finished and where by he’s headed six seasons into his profession.

“A male like that, bring about I know he watches movie, he watches me a ton,” Slay stated. “He viewed me grow as a youthful gentleman into the player I am today. So he is aware of what it normally takes to be a major male, and if he’s expressing (I’m major five), I’ve got a ton of respect.”

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Slay graded out as the 23rd-ranked cornerback in the NFL this season by Professional Football Concentrate, but following some early-season hiccups – he hit a very low place in Week 5, when Davante Adams torched Slay for most of his 9 catches and 140 yards getting – he completed on a substantial observe.

In the Lions’ past 4 online games, Slay experienced eight go breakups and returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown towards the Arizona Cardinals.

For the season, Slay experienced 17 passes defensed and 3 interceptions, figures that were a phase down from his huge 2017 (26 go breakups, eight INTs) but nonetheless better than his profession averages.

Slay stated he did not have as a lot of possibilities to make plays this season as he did in 2017, which he chalked up to the newfound respect he has across the league.

“But they’re going to appear yet again,” he stated. “They’re going to have to discover a way to get the ball to somebody else.”

The Lions are envisioned to deal with their cornerback placement, be it via totally free company, trade or the draft. Nevin Lawson has commenced most of the past 4 seasons reverse Slay and remains below agreement for 2019, but the Lions have gotten little generation from 2017 next-spherical pick Teez Tabor and could transfer Lawson to the slot corner if they discover a starter exterior.

Slay, who has hardly ever lacked for assurance, stated he usually figured he’d achieve this place in his profession, where by he’s deemed just one of the best at his craft in the game by just one of the best to at any time do it. And he stated he nonetheless sees better times ahead, where by his aim for 2019 will be on generating a lot more turnovers.

“I do nonetheless need to have to get better again at turning over the ball,” Slay stated. “I guess like punching the ball out or some other way, or a little something. Just determine out means to get the offense the ball.”

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