When the Detroit Lions drafted Darius Slay they were hoping he would step right in and solidify the corner position. He was able to log regular playing time as a rookie but the results were mixed leading some to question whether Slay could start in the NFL.
With Detroit Lions training camp starting next week, Lions secondary coach Tony Oden says that based on his play last season Slay has earned the right to play in every game this 2014 season.
“He’s earned the right to play every day,” Oden said. “He’s doing everything that he needs to do and he has a very, very good skill set. He’s fast and he’s quick. I think he wants to get better. He wants to know how to do it. Those are things that point to him being in the right direction and getting better.”
Clearly the Lions believe in the development as a long-term strategy to solve problem at cornerback. They believe the players on the roster can develop as part of a serviceable defensive back field. If they didn’t believe that they would have drafted a corner rather than Eric Ebron in the first round of the NFL Draft.
Development sounds great but here is the catch. In order for players to develop they need experience and they only way to get them experience is to throw them in water and see if they can swim. The defense will likely take some lumps along the way but its the price you pay when you are developing players.
“Experience speaks for itself,” Oden said. “He’s going to get better every practice. He’s going to get better every game. He’s going to be better in Game 4 than he is in Game 1. But the more experience he has and the more situational football he learns he’ll be able to become even more comfortable playing off (coverage). We’re going to have a good mix of both for him.”
There is no question that the Detroit Lions believe in Darius Slay. Now it is up to Darius Slay to justify that belief by becoming a consistent and dependable starter in 2014.