Nov 17, 2012; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs defensive back Darius Slay (9) during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Davis Wade Stadium. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated the Arkansas Razorbacks 45-14. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden–USA TODAY Sports

NFL Draft Rumors: Mississippi State’s Darius Slay Could Be Drafted Before Teammate Johnthan Banks

Mississippi State cornerback Darius Slay was one of the big winners at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine, while his teammate Johnthan Banks is on a rapid decline. Slay blew up the on-field workouts and looked like a fluid athlete, while Banks struggled to impress the scouts with his slow times.

Slay edged out Alabama’s Dee Milliner for the fastest 40-yard dash time among defensive backs with a stellar 4.36 time. For a man that stands over 6-foot, it was a time that “significantly elevated” his draft stock.

At one point, Banks was considered to be the Bulldogs top cornerback prospect and was often spotted in the first-round of NFL mock drafts, but with the recent moves up draft boards by Slay, Washington’s Desmond Trufant, Jamar Taylor of Boise State and many more, Banks could see himself slide out of the top 40 picks.

But while Slay is starting to close ground and even possibly leap over Banks in the rankings, when we look at the film and numbers it is increasingly clear that Slay should have been the higher rated cornerback this entire time.

John Pollard from STATS put together a nice chart that compares the performances last season between Slay and Banks, and the former had a clear edge in the numbers.

In 2012, teams would actually target Slay less than they would go after his counterpart and despite having more opportunities Slay was able to come up with one more interception.

Who gave up the most touchdowns? Banks. While Banks gave up four touchdowns on the year, Slay was only responsible for two and opposing quarterback were only able to have a 33 percent success rate against Slay in the redzone and an incredible 25 percent compared to Banks’ 50 percent on third downs.

When it mattered the most, Slay was stepping up and making the plays.

Banks was beat on routes 26 of the 52 attempts for an unimpressive 50 percent burn rate. As for Slay, he was beat on 21 of 47 targets for a 44.7 burn percentage. Once again, advantage Slay.

You could continue to go one, but Slay always comes out on top when you compare the numbers.

We won’t know until draft day if Slay will be selected ahead of his teammate, but the belief is growing and there is every reason to believe that he should. The impressive numbers at the combine forced scouts to go back and look at the film and that again is helping Slay in the draft process.

For Banks, he has gone from what seemed like a first-round lock to a fringe first-rounder with Slay closing the ground.

Will Slay be selected before Banks on draft day or is this just teams posturing in hopes that Banks slides to them at the top of the second-round? Let us know your thoughts in the comments sections.

For those wanting to see Slay perform in game action, here he is against Auburn and Alabama this year:

Tags: 2013 NFL Draft Darius Slay Johnthan Banks Mississippi State Bulldogs