In 2013, second-round pick Darius Slay struggled and did not produce much for a highly questioned Detroit Lions‘ secondary. The inability to stop teams late in games was a major reason why the team failed to reach the playoffs in 2013. Sometimes when an NFL player struggles they look to former players to teach them the ropes and guide them through the troubles of adjusting to the NFL. The cornerback has answered the call by having Hall of Fame cornerback Rod Woodson as his mentor, and his play will only improve because of this.
The resume for Woodson is among the greatest to ever play the game. Woodson starred for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was a Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens and played in a Super Bowl for the Oakland Raiders. In 2013, Slay finished 92nd among cornerbacks according to Pro Football Focus which is not a good ranking for a one-time starter. Slay was benched after only the first two games and only made two starts after that, losing his job to veteran Rashean Mathis.
In a win now league, there is no time whatsoever to wait on developing players. Teams have to rush to play their highly drafted players in order to validate selecting them. Slay’s inability to produce was an underlying factor in the dismissal of Jim Schwartz as coach this offseason. Sometimes the expectations are too high for a young player, but for fans who see teams select these players with high picks, there are no excuses for poor performances.
On a team that desperately needs a solid cornerback, Slay has to adjust sooner rather than later. The unit is headlined by Chris Houston, whose best years are behind him, and rounding out the group is Bill Bentley who did absolutely nothing last year. With Woodson’s mentoring, Slay will get back to the prospect who was deservedly a second-round pick and not a second-round bust who was benched after the first two games.