By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Darius Slay has been creeping up on Johnthan Banks in several mock drafts these past few weeks, but a reported injury could give some teams pause.
The NFL Draft begins today in New York, with seven rounds’ worth of picks to be made over three days. The first round is today, followed by rounds 2 and 3 on Friday and 4-7 on Saturday.
Slay and Banks, a pair of cornerbacks from Mississippi State, have been consistently pegged as second-round picks in recent weeks. Banks, the Jim Thorpe Award winner, was getting first-round buzz at the end of his senior year, but a slow 40-yard dash time at the NFL Combine seems to have hurt his stock.
Slay, who led MSU with five interceptions as a senior, has been rising up draft boards since playing the Senior Bowl and turning in a strong Combine performance, in which he ran the 40 in 4.36 seconds.
However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday that Slay had suffered a torn meniscus this offseason. Schefter also wrote that Slay had a strong workout with Atlanta on Friday, and Slay later told NFL.com that he would not need surgery.
NFL.com’s mock draft has Banks going 43rd overall with Slay going six picks later. Another mock, by Scouts Inc. for ESPN.com, has Banks and Slay at 50th and 51st, respectivly.
Several other former MSU players are hoping to either get drafted or sign as free agents, including receiver Chad Bumphis, defensive back Corey Broomfield and linebacker Cam Lawrence.
Defensive tackle Josh Boyd is the only other Bulldog to show up on the Scouts Inc. and NFL.com mock drafts, as a late-round pick.