The Detroit Lions find themselves fighting for a Wildcard playoff spot. Although the chances are slim, the Lions kept those hopes alive by defeating the Chicago Bears 20-10 this past Saturday. A key player in Saturday’s win — none other than cornerback Darius Slay.
Slay is playing at an All-Pro level right now, or at the very least, Pro Bowl level. After losing two games in a row to the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens, Detroit found its groove again with consecutive wins. The play of the defense has helped with that, forcing eight turnovers in the past two games.
Slay picked off Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky two times on Saturday, and now leads the NFL in interceptions with seven. He is also tied with Casey Hayward of the Los Angeles Chargers for most passes defended, with an impressive 20. Slay has recorded 56 total tackles on the season as well.
Over his past four games, Slay has recorded 17 total tackles, three interceptions and five passes defended. Heading into this past week’s matchup, the former second-round pick earned a top-10 ranking in quarterback rating allowed when targeted. He’s allowed just a 63.6 rating, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF also gives Slay an overall grade of 88.3, which ranks ninth in the league and puts him in the “High Quality” tier.
Detroit’s No. 1 cornerback had the third highest grade out of any Lions player, on offense or defense, this past week. Despite giving up an unusually high amount of yardage (60), he earned an overall grade of 82.0 and recognition as a top performer for the game.
The Mississippi State product has never made a Pro Bowl, often getting snubbed from the All-Star game. Slay has never received All-Pro recognition or earned any accolades for his consistent performances the past few seasons. That should change this year, and even if it doesn’t, Detroit fans know what they have in their shutdown cornerback.
With that said, it seems like NFL fans have finally taken notice of Slay’s game. Big Play Slay finished fourth at the cornerback position in fan voting for the Pro Bowl, and second in the NFC. Four cornerbacks will represent each conference there. The ballots from coaches and players still need counting, but Slay remains in good standing.
It’s evident that Slay deserves a Pro Bowl nod and even a look on the All-Pro team. But if you don’t want to take my word for it, perhaps the thoughts from Pro Bowl wide receiver, and Matthew Stafford‘s favorite target, Golden Tate will convince you.