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San Jose, Calif. — Two of the longest catches Lions cornerback Darius Slay gave up in 2015 were to the Broncos in Week 3, but Slay still made a good impression on Denver’s receivers.

In his third season, Slay proved to be one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL as teams rarely threw his direction over the final nine games.

Unfortunately for Slay, the game against the Broncos was nationally-televised on “Sunday Night Football,” so some people might judge him for the 45-yard touchdown he gave up to Demaryius Thomas and the 34-yard reception he allowed to Emmanuel Sanders.

“Darius Slay is a baller, man,” said Sanders, who’s become friends with Slay through fellow Lions cornerback Crezdon Butler. “One play doesn’t define one guy.”

Slay could be in for a big payday this offseason. A second-round pick in 2013, Slay has one year left on his rookie contract and switched agents this offseason with hopes of receiving an extension before the season.

Outside of those two deep balls and a 49-yard catch by Arizona’s John Brown in Week 5, Slay did well to prevent deep passes in 2015.

Of course, Sanders said the one-on-one catch he made over Slay was his third-best of the year, and Thomas said his was in his personal top five for 2015. The Broncos won the game, 24-12.

“He played good,” Thomas said. “It was just the one play I made over him, but he’s a good player. Watching him play and knowing him for a couple years, he’s been doing good.”

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/jkatzenstein

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