Mississippi State's cornerback duo of all-Southeastern Conference selection Darius Slay and All-American and 2012 Jim Thorpe Award winner Johnthan Banks were selected by the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft Friday night at Radio City Music Hall.
Banks and Slay became the first Bulldog teammates selected in the first 50 picks of the draft since James Johnson and Reggie Kelly went 39th and 42nd overall in 1999.
"Detroit and Tampa Bay got better tonight," head coach Dan Mullen said. "Congratulations to both Darius and Johnthan. They're both great players and wonderful young men. Both will continue to make Mississippi State fans - and all of the people of this great state - proud for years to come.
A native of Maben, Miss., Banks was chosen by the Buccaneers with the 43rd overall pick. He was four-year letter winner in the secondary and led the Maroon and White to three-straight bowl games for the second time in school history. The first Walter Camp All-American from the state of Mississippi in more than a decade, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound corner was named an All-American his senior year by nine different media outlets and groups.
In 2012, Banks finished with 63 total tackles, four interceptions, seven pass breakups, 2.0 tackles for loss, a fumble forced and a fumble recovery. The first rounder finished his career with 16 career interceptions, tying Walt Harris for the school record.
Slay, a native of Brunswick, Ga., was chosen by Detroit with the 36th overall selection. He was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2012, following his only year as a starter for the Bulldogs. Slay intercepted five passes as a senior (six total) and recorded 37 tackles with six pass breakups.
The 2013 NFL Draft continues through the weekend, and updates about the Mississippi State players selected can be found online at HailState.com and on Twitter at @MStateFB.
All-Time MSU Defensive Backs Selected in the NFL Draft
(Since AFL/NFL Merger in 1970)
Year Round Pick (Overall) Name Team
1973 2 50 Ken Phares Pittsburgh Steelers
1973 16 391 Frank Dowsin Philadelphia Eagles
1975 5 117 Steve Freeman New England Patriots
1976 7 207 Larry Buie Los Angeles Rams
1977 4 100 Stan Black San Francisco 49ers
1978 5 133 Bruce Threadgill San Francisco 49ers
1979 7 180 Henry Monroe Green Bay Packers
1980 5 137 Kenny Johnson Atlanta Falcons
1981 11 294 Willie Jackson Detroit Lions
11 296 Larry Friday Cleveland Browns
1987 5 129 Kirby Jackson New York Jets
9 250 Bruce Plummer Denver Broncos
1996 1 13 Walt Harris Chicago Bears
1998 2 61 Eric Brown Denver Broncos
2000 5 133 Robert Bean Cincinnati Bengals
2001 2 45 Fred Smoot Washington Redskins
2013 2 36 Darius Slay Detroit Lions
2 43 Johnthan Banks Tampa Bay Buccaneers