Darius Slay Jr.
Six secondary standouts from football’s week that was:
Darius Slay Jr., CB, Lions (NFL): In 2015, Josh Norman went from being occasionally mentioned as one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the NFL to being regularly touted as perhaps the best corner in the league. And that transformation seemed to happen overnight.
In 2016, Slay is the best candidate to make a Norman-like leap into the elite. During the offseason there was a growing buzz around Slay, who had declared himself one of the league’s top corners and appeared to gather some co-signers around the same time the Lions inked him to a four-year, $50 million contract extension despite Slay having yet to make a Pro Bowl roster.
On Sunday against the undefeated Eagles, Slay took a big step toward getting the mainstream recognition he wants. Continue reading
The NFL Network is in the process of gradually revealing its ranking of the league’s top 100 players for 2016, airing a new episode each week that unveils 10 players at a time.
The reveal of the NFL’s list of the league’s top 100 rookies for 2016 was less ceremonial. The whole thing landed quietly all at once as an NFL.com article last week.
Surprisingly, the second-ranked rookie was former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack, whose talent is unquestioned but whose injury history allowed him to fall to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the draft. Since the top 100 rookies list is based on who the experts think will make the biggest impact next season — and because some observers still doubt whether Jack will be able to play next season — it was an interesting choice. Continue reading
Tags: 2016 NFL Draft, Eli Apple, Jalen Ramsey, Karl Joseph, Keanu Neal, KeiVarae Russell, NFL, Su'a Cravens, Vernon Hargreaves III, Vonn Bell, William Jackson III
The 2016 NFL Draft started with a pair of quarterbacks, and toward the end of Thursday’s first round, another QB provided the most authentically emotional moment of the night.
Then there was the twisting, turning story line involving a 315-pound offensive lineman and some social media skullduggery that sent him on a Warren Sapp-like slide down the draft board.
And added to the mix were some crazy red-carpet outfits, one adorable scene-stealing toddler, a handful of unexpected picks and some interesting trades.
Almost lost in all of that was the fact that no position group had a better first round than the defensive backs, a group headlined by No. 5 overall pick Jalen Ramsey, the Florida State corner-slash-safety who is headed to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Continue reading
In the 80-year history of the NFL Draft, only once has a defensive back been taken with the No. 1 overall pick. That was all the way back in 1956, when the Pittsburgh Steelers took safety Gary Glick out of Colorado A&M (now known as Colorado State). Glick, who was also a kicker, played seven years in the league with the Steelers, Colts, Chargers and Washington. He finished his career with 14 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries.
Six decades later, 2016 was shaping up to be the year in which a defensive back went No. 1 in the draft again.
The league was ready for it. Continue reading
Tags: Darian Thompson, Eli Apple, Jalen Ramsey, Karl Joseph, Keanu Neal, Mackensie Alexander, Morgan Burns, NCAA, NFL, NFL Draft, Vernon Hargreaves III, Vonn Bell, William Jackson III