Grading the Detroit Lions defensive starters.

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Dec 14, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Detroit won 16-14. Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Rashean Mathis: The ageless wonder strikes again. At 34 years old Mathis is still flying around like 23-year-old kid. He is the unquestioned leader of the Detroit Lions secondary. With a strong voice and veteran knowledge he makes everybody back there a better player. Could Mathis be playing this way at 40?

Grade: 17

Cassius Vaughn: Vaughn came in at nickel after Bill Bentley went down early in the season and he filled in nicely. His interception against Atlanta set up the Lions for a huge comeback win in London this season. Still there were some plays I bet he wished he could have back and I don’t see him starting another season once Bentley is back in the fold.

Grade: 13

Darius Slay: Well wasn’t this a lovely surprise? After spending the offseason learning from Hall Of Fame corner Rod Woodson, it was evident that Darius listened to the man. Darius gave the Lions what they have been sorely missing this year. A corner that can stop even the best of receivers. Most notably he did not allow Dez Bryant a single catch in the wildcard game and quite frankly he embarrassed Dez by teaching every corner how to properly jam a receiver. The future is bright for Slay as many believe he could be a shutdown corner is the coming years.

Grade: 20

James Ihedigbo: I did not think that in the offseason this would be one of the best pickups for the Lions. I was wrong. Digs came on strong this year and he brought his championship mentality with him. He and Quin were a force to be reckoned with at the safety spots this season and he made some huge plays that saved the Lions from losing. Of course his knucklehead play against Tampa Bay after he picked off Josh McCown was just  dumb thing to do. luckily the Lions recovered and went on to win the game otherwise this grade would be lower.

Grade: 18

Next: Grading The Offensive Starters

So what do you think? leave your comments below and follow me on twitter @lionmike26