The Colts prospect interviews are rolling along as we approach the NFL Draft. Today’s player interview is Auburn Wide Receiver Darius Slayton. The Colts could use more speed at receiver and the electric Slayton could be a fit.
The interview will be towards the bottom of the page, as he interviewed exclusively with Stampede Blue to talk about the nuances of route running, how to find space in a defense, and how he’d fit in the Colts’ receiving group.
6’2” 219 pounds
40 Time: 4.39 / Bench Reps: 11 Reps / Vertical Jump: 40.5 inches / Broad Jump: 135 inches / 3-Cone: 7.00 seconds
79 catches for 1,605 yards with 20.3 yards per catch and 11 touchdowns in his college career.
Fit with the Colts:
Chris Ballard has consistently added speed to the Colts’ offense since he took over as GM. He added Eric Ebron through free agency last year and also Nyheim Hines and Deon Cain to create more openings and add speed to the offense. Slayton can be yet another deep threat to the offense. He is a vertical receiver who can open up a game for an offense. With his added weight and strength, he could fit perfectly as the X receiver alongside TY Hilton if his hands can be more consistent. His upside, smarts, and speed though are very intriguing and would make him a nice complimentary piece to the team.
Breakaway speed immediately pops on film. He can be a game breaker at the next level with his ability to hit that second gear.
Big frame combined with great concentration allows him to make difficult catches away from his frame.
Darius Slayton's face mask was grabbed while the ball was in the air...and he still made the catch. pic.twitter.com/4pubM6AdkE— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) September 15, 2018
His ability to win vertically would be an insane match with TY Hilton on the outside.
53 days till kickoff: Jarrett Stidham throws a beautiful 53 yard touchdown pass to Darius Slayton to help Auburn regain the lead against Texas A&M. Hopefully we see plenty more of that in ‘18. #WDE pic.twitter.com/d2wZVugtVI— Graham Brooks (@The_GBrooks) July 10, 2018
ZH: You played receiver at Auburn so you had to go against SEC corners every week. Do you think that competition has prepared you for the NFL?
DS: I think it definitely has. I think a lot of times you see the elite corners in the NFL line up on elite wide receivers and it tends to be a lot of one on ones— you know like press coverage— and that is what you see a lot in the SEC. It kind of mimics the NFL a lot in that regard where people tend to take their best corner and put it on the opposing team’s best receiver and try to eliminate him.
ZH: Who was the toughest cornerback you faced in college?
DS: Deandre Baker. He’s a very patient player and he’s a physical player. He’s plays the game pretty smart and it was a good match up for me.
ZH: You were one of the stars of the combine, putting up an insane 4.39 40 time. How did it feel putting up the number that you did?
DS: It was a lot of fun. I felt like I was going to test well— I actually thought I was going to test a little better in some areas— but all in all though I feel like I tested pretty well and I was very pleased with my performance.
ZH: Going to your film now and the ability to win vertically stands out. Is that all speed or is there more that goes into it?
DS: Initially you have to have speed to outrun people but at the line of scrimmage there is a lot of technique involved. You see a lot of press coverage in the SEC and you have to be able to get off of press using your hands and your feet simultaneously to beat a lot of these really good press corners like Deandre Baker who try to put their hands on you at the line. That is all technique. Some of it is natural body quickness and twitch but it is also technique and learning how to get your body into the right position to have a chance to run by people and use your speed.
ZH: There is so much nuance that goes into route running. In your own words, what makes a player a great route runner?
DS: What makes a great route runner is somebody who doesn’t give away anything in their body language. Everything is about acting like it is going one way then being able to snap it off quickly and being able to go off in another direction or break down and come back to the ball. I think that’s definitely two major keys to becoming an elite route runner and something that the elite route runners do very well.
ZH: Finding space in zone defense is vital for receivers. How do you do it so easily? Is it film study, DB leverage... What goes into excelling in this area?
DS: Little bit of film work and understanding what defenses you are going to see that week and then carrying that to the field and realizing that when you see a look. If you have a good idea or are pretty sure what the defense is before the ball is snapped, then you already know where the space or zone is going to be. At that point it’s just field awareness thing while you are moving and understanding where your space is going to be and you just have to find that sweet spot.
ZH: What is your favorite route to run?
DS: I like the post route the best.
ZH: Who in the NFL do you compare yourself to/model your game after?
DS: I mean I watch all of the best guys even though they aren’t always my body type or my skillset but I’m always trying to watch players who are similar to me and just try to see how they manage to move around and get open. I’m a fast guy so I tend to watch guys like DeSean Jackson or like Will Fuller. Guys like that who are similar to me but I also watch bigger guys like DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones because you can learn a little something from everybody.
ZH: Your production at Auburn wasn’t spectacular as they are a run-first team. Do you think your skillset will be better utilized at the next level with NFL QBs?
DS: Definitely. One time somebody asked me if you think your best ball is ahead of you and I definitely do. As I get to the NFL, hopefully I get to a team that will move me around and let me do different things and I definitely feel like I have a lot more to give to teams in the NFL than what I did when I was in college.
ZH: Last question. If you were drafted by the Colts, what would you add to a receiver room that consists of Devin Funchess and TY Hilton? On the field and off the field, what would you add that is unique to that room?
DS: Just another guy in the room that can be reliable. T.Y Hilton is a great receiver, a really underrated receiver, and Devin Funchess is also a really good receiver as he is more of a big body guy but I think my skillset varies from both of them. I think I’m faster than both of them and I could stretch the field a little more on the field. As far as off the field, I think I would be a good piece. I’m sure they are cool guys and I’m a good guy who is not going to cause any trouble anywhere I go. I’m just going to go in and focus on winning football games and I think I would fit in well there.