DETROIT (WXYZ) - Before Darius Slay, the Detroit Lions had not drafted a first or second round corner in 15 years and now the first year man out of Mississippi State will have the opportunity to prove he's the defensive back Lions fans have been waiting for.
After practicing with the first team defense for his second straight practice Sunday, Slay has jumped ahead of veteran corner Ron Bartell to take command of the starting right corner position and earned a start in the Lions next preseason matchup against the New England Patriots where his first task will be to slow down Tom Brady.
During Detroit's preseason opener two weeks ago against the New York Jets, it seemed Slay was treated by the opposing offense like a veteran after playing 28 snaps and not having the ball thrown his way once.
Well unlike Slay's NFL preseason debut, Tom Brady will likely look to challenge the inexperienced rookie, who says he welcomes the test.
"Great opportunity," Slay told reporters after practice Sunday. "I am blessed to have that chance. He's one of the best but I am ready."
Slay has received much praise for his in game man-to-man technique and ball skills, head coach Jim Schwartz says his opportunity to start is a natural progression from that.
"We really don't have depth charts right now, but we do have rotations," Schwartz told reporters Sunday. "He's getting some good reps and that's because of his play in the preseason games. The greatest reward is the opportunity to do more."