PRO 2019 Rookie Spotlight: Darius Slayton, WR Auburn

Rookie Spotlight: Darius Slayton, Auburn University
Height: 6’1’’ (official)
Weight: 190 lbs (official)
Hands: 10” (official)
Arm: 32 3/4” (official)
40 yard dash: 4.39 (Combine)
NFL Comparison: Dede Westbrook, DJ Chark

– versatile
– blazing straight-line speed
– tracks ball well in the air
– productive after the catch

– inconsistent hands
– raw route runner

Scouting Notes: Darius Slayton is a silky smooth runner who explodes and then glides up the field like a gazelle. A state sprint champion in high school, the former Tiger had a middling career at Auburn, though he did lead the team in TDs(5) in 2018. His lack of production can be in large part chalked up to Auburn’s terrible offense, especially over the 2018 season – When you have a piss poor QB situation, it’s hard to be a difference maker as the team’s deep threat. That said, Slayton’s abilities are well displayed on his tape and from his impressive Combine performance. Slayton can perform at all three levels on offense, though he’s not a refined route-runner by any means. He gets open with his burst off the line and subsequent long strides that create separation at any level.

Slayton tracks the ball well enough in the air and he can high point the ball with ease, but he had too many concentration drops throughout his college career. If he can’t amend that situation, all the speed in the world isn’t going to keep him on the field in the NFL.

Fantasy Outlook: It seems well known that Slayton’s lack of college production was mostly out of his hands, so he should get a decent shake in the draft. He’s got elite speed and a frame that can add bulk — Making a team will be easy enough. Slayton’s true test will be whether he can learn a full route tree in addition to shoring up his hands situation. If he can succeed at these tasks, he can be a valuable asset in fantasy, as he can contribute in so many situations. He’s got the potential to be a valuable deep threat at worst and an every down chain mover who can open up the field in a split second at best.

Quotes from the Combine:

(On the decision to leave college early): “Ultimately, I had a chance after the bowl game to talk to my parents about it. We weighed the pros and cons of leaving and staying and ultimately made a family decision and decided it’d be best for me to declare for the draft.”

(On Auburn preparing him for the NFL): “They gave me the platform to be here today. I was developed pretty well at Auburn. A lot of people say the offense is simplistic, so I understand the criticisms, but the reality is we ran a lot of plays and a lot of routes that other teams run. All in all, I think I was well-prepared.”

(On Auburn receivers not succeeding in the NFL): “NFL success is about you as a player. At the end of the day, when you get to the NFL, it’s on you and you need to perform at a high level.”

(On training): “I’ve really just been trying to get myself ready for the combine and be able to perform well in all these drills. My biggest weapon is speed, so be able to perform well in the 40. As well as that, a lot of people do want to see me route-run, be smooth catching the ball, so obviously I’m looking forward to it.”

(On route-running at Auburn): “We run a lot more routes than people think. Obviously there is so much I just don’t have a lot of experience running.”

(On route concepts): “The plays are longer, but as far as the concepts are simpler. Our terminology at Auburn was simpler, but the actual route combinations are generally the same.”

(On complementing Ryan Davis and vice versa): “We complement each other really well – my ability to stretch the field and his ability to find a hole underneath and make people miss. I think it made it hard to defend because you can’t just stop one thing.”

(On being an underrated route runner): “I definitely think I’m underrated as a route runner, but that’s why I’m here. I have an opportunity to show I have the ability to run (various routes).”

(On reputation as just a deep threat): “(It bothers me) a little bit. As a player, you want to have a complete game. You want to be seen as someone who is good in all aspects of the position. I’ll have an opportunity to show that off (Saturday).”

(On relationship with Kerryon Johnson): “He’s a big video game guy. I’m a big video game guy. So we play a game almost every day or every other day. I talk to him periodically throughout the year. Obviously he had a really good year for the Detroit Lions before he got hurt, but I follow him a little bit.”

(On Johnson’s rookie year): “I was happy for him. He didn’t get the press like a lot of the top backs, but he showed had he not been hurt, he’s right up there with the best backs in the NFL as far as statistics and the way he played.”

(On game week preparation): “Just a lot of repetition. For us, we played really fast so Coach (Gus) Malzahn likes to make things really simple to make sure everybody knows the game plan. So when Saturday comes around, we’re playing at a fast pace. So, every single day – by Thursday, we’ll have the whole game plan and we’ll know exactly what we need to do.”

(On adjusting to the NFL): “It’s really the same concepts and I think anybody, really, is going to have to adjust to the NFL.”

(On toughest opponent): “I would say Deandre Baker. Obviously, he’s a highly rated player, but I think he was a little better than even I was thinking. We had pretty good battles for four quarters – back and forth a little bit – but I was impressed with his game.”

From the Auburn Athletic Department:

Returning starter at receiver … 35 catches for 670 yards for season (avg. 19.1 ypc) … 1,605 career receiving yards rank him 11th among Auburn career leaders … three catches gained 41 yards in Washington win … did not play against Alabama State … 4-yard TD catch from Stidham vs. LSU … five catches for 91 yards vs. Southern Miss, including a long gain of 53 … four catches gained 58 yards at Mississippi State … catches of 35 and 27 yards at Ole Miss … 107 yards on eight catches in Texas A&M win, his second career 100-yard game … 52-yard touchdown reception at Alabama … three receptions, all for touchdowns, of 74, 52 and 34 yards in Music City Bowl vs. Purdue … set Auburn bowl records for receiving yards (160), TD (3), and longest TD catch (74) … preseason: all-SEC 4th team (Phil Steele)

Leave a Reply