Monday, April 16, 2012

The curious case whether the Lions should gamble on Janoris Jenkins

The NFL Draft is always more perplexing for a team selecting later rather than sooner.
For one thing, their needs don't fall under the category of "everything," which by the way, has described the Lions' drafts of the past.
Not anymore. The Lions have an excellent offense now - one of the best in the NFL. The Lions defense is suspect. They NEED to draft defensive players in the early rounds. Taking offensive players would be counterproductive.
Problem is, at No. 23 overall in the first round, the best players that might be available, cornerbacks Jarnois Jenkins (North Alabama, Florida) and Dre Kirkpartick (Alabama) have marijuana-related offenses in their past. The Lions have had an off-season in which three of their five picks from the last draft were charged with marijuana possession - Nick Fairley, Mikel Leshoure and Johnny Culbreath.
Jenkins is particularly intriguing. He is potentially not only a good player, but a great player. In terms of ability, he is one of the top three non-quarterbacks in this draft.
I love how these mock drafts have Jenkins lingering at 24th overall. It will be like taunting the Lions if he is there. Jenkins could be another Darrelle Revis. He is a pure cover corner. Kirkpatrick is big and physical, but not nearly as capable of shutting down a receiver in one-on-one coverage.
But Jenkins' off-the-field problems run pretty deep, including his admission he continued to smoke pot at North Alabama after being booted out of Florida.
I see the Lions passing on both these guys. The next tier of cornerbacks is good. Central Florida's Josh Robinson, who Michigan wanted badly out of high school, could star in the league. Dwight "Bill" Bentley from Louisiana Lafayette is a very good player with his height being the only concern. Robinson and Bentley have exceptional speed. Bentley, by the way, was Jenkins' teammate in high school.
It's highly unlikely Robinson will be there in the second round for the Lions. Bentley might, although there do tend to be runs late in the first round and early in the second on cornerbacks in many drafts. It's just the value of the position.
Another intiguing issue in this draft will be where Alabama safety Mark Barron is selected. He is a superior player - ideal for the Lions.
He should be gone by the time the Lions select, but safeties are often undervalued - and drop.
Yet, look at the best defenses the last decade - many of them have a great safety. Barron and Louis Delmas together would markedly benefit the Lions cornerbacks.
The Lions still have needs on offense. Running back. Offensive line depth, including a left tackle and center to groom as eventual replacements for Jeff Backus and Dominic Raiola. But they are not glaring needs, like secondary. This is a replay of my livestream video chat today. Jeff Kuehn and I do this every Monday for about 45 minutes starting between 12:30 and 1. A "Cover it Live" chat is set up, only instead of typing back we speak directly to you. I give out a sports book from my personal library every week to somebody with a question/comment. Check it out.

Video streaming by Ustream



Blogger Barry said...

Pat, it like opening Christmas presents, you kinda know what you got but not for sure. The Lions draft that way by picking the best player available. Barron falling to the Lions would be okay. I still like investing in the big dudes in the first round because usually get the best bang for your buck. I like depth so picking the best available doesn't bother me and it prevents trying grab 2nd rounder into the first round because of need. I would definitely draft the dopers if they are available in the 2 round.

11:23 AM 

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