By: Will Burchfield
Darius Slay is nothing if not self-assured.
Ask him to name the best basketball player on the Lions and he’ll point to himself. Ask him to name the best dancer on the Lions and he’ll point to himself. Ask him to name the most lovable guy in the locker room and he’ll flash a smile that says you already know.
Then, just to be sure, he’ll point to himself.
That’s why it was surprising toward the end of his 2017 Pro-Bowl season when Slay almost scoffed at the notion that he’s one of the top-two cornerbacks in the NFL.
“Nah, I ain’t top two yet,” he said. “Not in the league.”
For all his bluster and bravado, Slay has some real real humility when it comes to his place in the game. Ask him to rank the best cornerbacks in the NFL and he defers to the vets. In December, Slay pointed to Patrick Peterson of the Cardinals, Richard Sherman of the Seahawks and Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. of the Broncos.
“I go by who does it the longest and staying at a high level with it,” Slay said. “Anybody can have (a great) year and then have a boo-boo in the next year, so I go by who’s been doing it the longest.”
Peterson, Sherman, Talib and Harris have a combined 19 Pro-Bowl nods and eight first team All-Pro selections.
“Those guys right there are going to stay at the top,” Slay said. “Everybody has their downfall, but they ain’t had their downfall yet.”
On Tuesday, Slay went public with his rankings via Twitter. A good deal of debate ensued.
Sherman, Harris and Talib, for their part, all appreciated the shoutout.
“Respect Big play,” said Sherman.
“Keep balling big play more success to come,” said Harris.