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Lions' Darius Slay, Larry Warford omitted from 25 Under 25 list

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Lions cornerback Darius Slay can make a good case to be one of the top NFL players under age 25. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

ESPN Insider Mike Sando released his annual 25 Under 25 list -- ranking the 25 best NFL players under 25 years of age when the season commences next week.

Having perused the list, I figured at least one Detroit Lions player -- either right guard Larry Warford or cornerback Darius Slay -- would make the list. There was a chance both of them could. Instead, I was surprised to see neither player made Sando's annual breakdown.

I asked Sando about this -- mostly due to Slay's omission instead of Warford. He included a brief explanation of why Slay was left off in this Facebook post.

I could understand Warford being left off the list because he is an interior lineman, was hurt last season and was part of a subpar offensive line.

Slay, on the other hand, had a really strong second season. He graded out from Pro Football Focus as the No. 19 cornerback in the NFL, higher than the one cornerback that made Sando's list, Buffalo's Stephon Gilmore. Slay also had a better opposing quarterback rating (81.1 to 91.2) than Gilmore. He was also part of one of the best defenses in the NFL and improved throughout the season.

The Lions are banking on Slay taking even another step this season and turning into one of the top overall corners in the NFL, not just one of the best young corners in the league.