ALLEN PARK — The Detroit Lions stayed on the defensive side of the ball, drafting cornerback Darius Slay in the second round on Friday night as the 36th overall pick.
Slay had the fastest 40 time (4.36) among defensive backs at the NFL Combine. He said he gets his speed naturally.
“My mom and dad both ran track so I’ve been pretty fast for a long time,’’ Slay said on a conference call.
Slay, who is 6-foot and 192 pounds, tore meniscus in the offseason.
“I feel like I’m moving real good right now,’’ Slay said on a conference call Friday night. “It never really did (bother me), they just did an MRI on it and saw something there, a torn meniscus and that was it.’’
“We’re very aware of where he is physically right now,’’ Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said. “He’s in good physical condition. We’re aware there’s an issue with his knee and we’re comfortable with that.’’
Mayhew wouldn’t speculate whether he will be ready to participate in organized team activities in May. Coach Jim Schwartz said it’s not a long-term injury.
“We’ve been trying to find that big corner, we’ve talked about that. Everybody is looking for that guy,’’ Mayhew said. “He has a lot of that same stuff. He’s good in press coverage, he’s physical against the run.’’
Slay said when he visited the Lions a few weeks ago they made it clear they were interested.
“They said they were going to grab me, so I knew when I didn’t go the first day they were going to pick me up,’’ Slay said.
Schwartz said Slay will compete with the three corners drafted last year — Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood and Jonte Green.
In the past few seasons the Lions have had significant injuries among the defensive backs.
“You can never have enough good corners and he’s a guy we think is going to be a good corner,’’ Schwartz said.
Slay’s Mississippi State teammate cornerback Johnthan Banks was drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs with the 43rd overall pick.
“(Slay) played in the Southeast Conference, another guy when you watched the tape he really stood out — athletic, overlapped, made plays on the football, tackled all those things you look for in a corner,’’ Schwartz added.
Slay was introduced in New York by former Lions’ wide receiver Herman Moore. During the television interview he was holding his 5-year-old son Darion.
“I’m ready to compete, I can’t wait to get Detroit,’’ Slay said on the NFL Network immediately after the pick.
In the first round on Thursday night, the Lions drafted defensive end Ziggy Ansah out of BYU.
The Lions wanted to get bigger, faster and more athletic through this draft.
“We’ve done that with these two picks,’’ Mayhew said.
In back-to-back picks it was a situation where need met the best player available.
(Paula Pasche covers the Lions. Follow her on Twitter @PaulaPasche. Read her Lions Lowdown blog at oplions.blogspot.com.)