The Detroit Lions' general manager is a former NFL cornerback, one who was a 10th-round draft choice but still managed a successful eight-year playing career. I've always figured that dynamic played a role in his management of the Lions' cornerback position, and so it's worth noting that Mississippi State cornerback Darius Slay is the highest-drafted cornerback in Martin Mayhew's career.
The Lions took Slay with the No. 36 overall pick Friday evening, making Slay the first cornerback they have drafted in either the first or second round since selecting Terry Fair in 1998. Mayhew told reporters the Lions had a first-round grade on Slay, despite a torn meniscus in his knee that occurred at some point this offseason.
Mayhew said he is "very comfortable" with Slay's prognosis and coach Jim Schwartz said the injury isn't long-term. When you add Slay to the Lions' 2012 trio of drafted cornerbacks -- Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green -- you have what promises to be a lively competition to start alongside Chris Houston.
More than anything, Slay is known for his speed. He ran the fastest 40 time among cornerbacks at the NFL scouting combine, 4.36 seconds, and his availability helped mitigate the Lions' decision to pass on Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner in the first round.