Darius Slay is coming off of a career year in which he led the league in interceptions and passes defended for a cornerback. That elite production paid off for Slay, as he earned an All-Pro selection and his first ever trip to the Pro Bowl.
Slay finished 2017 with 60 total tackles, 8 interceptions, 26 passes defended and 1 fumble recovery. The former second-round pick from the 2013 NFL Draft has made steady progress during every season he has been in the league.
Bleacher Report’s NFL 1000 released their season-ending cornerback ratings earlier this week and Slay ranked No. 3 overall in the NFL, according to their metrics. Each player is given an overall grade of 0-100, with Slay earning an impressive grade of 85.
Here’s what DB scout Ian Wharton had to say about Slay in the article.
“Prior to this season, the biggest knock on Darius Slay’s play was the lack of high-end ball production,” said Wharton. “But that massively changed as Slay took advantage of the targets load he was given. The NFL leader in interceptions and passes defensed at the position, Slay was a slam dunk All-Pro selection. He’s not quite the stickiest player in man coverage, lacking the elite fluidity that others have, but he’s proven to be excellent playing off the line of scrimmage. His numbers fairly represent his mastery of timing and ball awareness.”
The two corners that were ranked above Slay were the Jaguars’ A.J. Bouye and the Ravens’ Jimmy Smith. Slay ranked lower in Pro Football Focus’ rankings, where he was given an 88.1 grade – good for tenth among cornerbacks in the league.
While ratings like these are mostly used for fans to argue over, it’s nice to see analysts around the league finally recognizing the blossoming star Slay has become after the great season he had in 2017.