Darius Slay was not one of the most trumpeted cornerbacks at the combine.
He was not even the most trumpeted cornerbacks at the combine from his own school, Mississippi State.
That honor went to Johnthan Banks, who started 45-of-51 games and had 16 interceptions.
A least one analyst who watched film of Banks noticed Slay.
“I tell you what’s interesting, I like that other corner too, Darius Slay,” said the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock on a pre-combine conference call. “I put the tape on to watch Banks, who plays in the boundary for the most part, and my eye kept going to the other kid (Slay), and I liked him a lot.
“I think (Slay is) a guy that’s a third‑ our fourth‑round player. And I think he’s opened some eyes.”
Cornerbacks got their day Tuesday in the 40-yard dash, and Slay topped his cornerback counterparts with 4.36 timing. Alabama’s Dee Milliner, a talent who should be taken near the start of the draft, clocked in a 4.37. Washington’s Desmond Trufant timed third at 4.39. Banks was timed at 4.61.
Slay took a career path to Starkville similar to the Colts’ Vick Ballard. Ballard played two years of junior college ball before starring at Mississippi State for his final two seasons.
Ballard was a fifth-round pick by the Colts last year, the 170th selection overall.
Slay played 26 games for the Bulldogs after two seasons at Itawamba (Miss.) Community College. At 6-0, 191, Slay was a full-season starter in 2012, swiping five passes and recovering one fumble.
His interceptions led the nation’s premier conference and tied for ninth nationally. In two seasons at State, Slay had six interceptions and broke up 10 passes.
This past year, he came in for all-conference notice by Pro Football Weekly, the SEC coaches and Phil Steele.
Slay chose Mississippi State over offers from Kentucky, Georgia and Oklahoma State.
Indianapolis has been a proving ground for Ballard. Now, Slay leaves Indy as the top ‘Dog.
Tags: Darius Slay, Dee Milliner, Desmond Trufant, Johnthan Banks, NFL Combine, vick ballard
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At times during his Oklahoma career, Landry Jones could be considered the third best quarterback in the Sooner’s signal caller’s meeting room.
This wasn’t because of the gaudy numbers Jones put up over his 50 games as the Sooners staring quarterback.
It was because his position coach was Josh Heupel, the 2000 Heisman runner-up, and Sam Bradford, who captured the 2008 Heisman Trophy during Jones’ redshirt season, surrounded the now 2013 draft prospect.
Jones playing time began in 2009 when Bradford suffered a shoulder injury during the Red River Shootout against Texas.
From there, Jones shattered school records and leaves Norman as the Big 12’s all-time leading passer in yards (16,646) and attempts (2,135).
With pre-draft workouts underway, Jones has moved on to another place that is rich in developing quarterbacks.
George Whitfield, known as a quarterback guru, is working Jones out in southern California and has a recent history with college quarterbacks preparing for the draft.
“George is a great quarterback coach, has had a lot of success in the past about training guys and getting them ready for the draft, including the last two No. 1 picks” Jones said.
“He’s helped me with a lot of different things. I think the thing for me is about my setup, holding the ball a little bit higher and taking (out) some of the extra things in my motion and just kind of scratching it out of my game.”
In late January, Jones attended the 2013 Senior Bowl where he was exposed to some other intricacies of the quarterback position that he will have to adapt to at the next level.
“(I) had a good week of practice, didn’t have any issues with taking the snap under center or calling plays in the huddle,” Jones said of the week in Mobile. “That was a big thing for me going into (the Senior Bowl), playing mostly in the gun and no huddle (at Oklahoma).”
NFL Network Analyst Mike Mayock said Jones is a hard prospect to qualify, when some games he looks like a potential first round pick and others where he grades out as a fifth round projection.
“When I look at Landry Jones, I’ve got him as my number five quarterback, and I’m holding my breath on that one a little bit,” Mayock said.
“I think most of the league is looking at him as a third round guy. I think he’s a little better than that because I’ve seen him play at a higher level.”
Mayock said he is still searching throughout the entire 2013 quarterback class for that guy who belongs in the same sentence as the rookie signal callers who took the NFL by storm last season.
Where the 2013 quarterback will rank is to be determined and Jones offered his assessment of a group he hopes to find himself at the top of.
“The further we get into this process I think there’s going be a guy that’s going to be coming up and there’s going to be somebody that puts himself ahead,” Jones said. “I think it’s the guy who’s going to work the hardest and the guy who wants it more.”
Tags: Josh Heupel, Landry Jones, Oklahoma Football, Sam Braford
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