Skip to content

Lions looked past character concerns in last year’s draft

Nick Fairley, Martin Mayhew, Jim Schwartz AP

Three of the Lions’ five draft picks last year have been arrested for possessing marijuana since the season ended, and that’s bringing into renewed focus what many observers said about the Lions’ 2011 draft class at the time: Detroit brought in some talented players, but some questionable characters.

As Albert Breer of NFL Network wrote on Twitter 11 months ago, character issues were a concern for a number of the Lions’ draft picks. Nick Fairley dropped to the Lions at No. 13 in large part because there were red flags about his work ethic, and Mikel Leshoure dropped to the Lions at No. 57 partly because of character issues including a one-game suspension at Illinois for a violation of team rules that has since been reported as a failed drug test.

This week Fairley and Leshoure have both been in the news for marijuana arrests, and in January the Lions’ 2011 seventh-round pick, Johnny Culbreath, was also arrested for marijuana possession.

Just days before last year’s draft, Lions G.M. Martin Mayhew said he wouldn’t pass up a talented player just because that player failed a drug test.

“A failed drug test is a cause for concern, but it doesn’t knock you out of the running to be drafted,” Mayhew said.

It may sound like second-guessing after the fact to point out that the Lions looked past character red flags last year, but the reality is plenty of people questioned the Lions’ decisions at the time.

This year some mock drafts have the Lions using their first-round pick on cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was kicked off the team at Florida after, among other things, an arrest for marijuana possession. Maybe the Lions have learned a painful lesson this offseason and will pass on Jenkins. Or maybe he fits right in with the team they’re trying to build.

Permalink 84 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Detroit Lions, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
84 Responses to “Lions looked past character concerns in last year’s draft”
  1. thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Apr 4, 2012 5:56 PM

    Strange because the weed in Michigan is, to quote Sir Charles,

    …”Turrible”

  2. apm says: Apr 4, 2012 5:57 PM

    All that matters is the scoreboard, right!?

  3. fievel03 says: Apr 4, 2012 5:57 PM

    “We made mistake, made it three times actually, but we’re not going to admit it,” Mayhew said.

  4. pacificamjr says: Apr 4, 2012 5:57 PM

    its really not that big of a deal. after all, bmore won the SB after ray ray murdered someone and got away with it…

  5. terraj35 says: Apr 4, 2012 5:58 PM

    C’mon, it’s the Lions. This was inevitable

  6. babyhorsemorgan says: Apr 4, 2012 5:58 PM

    Apparently the Lions did not look past Fairley’s shoulders and failed to notice what his head looked like.

  7. bereado says: Apr 4, 2012 5:59 PM

    If they do not “pass on Jenkins” he’ll be “pass”ing the joint around to his fellow steamates in the lockerroom.

  8. babyhorsemorgan says: Apr 4, 2012 6:00 PM

    Having overcome Down Syndrome, Jim Schwartz has a soft spot for special needs players.

  9. ar1888 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:00 PM

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  10. 11wheatd says: Apr 4, 2012 6:00 PM

    I think they’ve done that with half their roster..

  11. tfbuckfutter says: Apr 4, 2012 6:01 PM

    Some advice to the Lions…..have your head coach start using marijuana so he chills the hell out, and then all your players won’t need it.

  12. bearsstillsuck says: Apr 4, 2012 6:02 PM

    He’ll feel right at home with the lions. Way to go Detroit.

  13. fijabbersman345 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:03 PM

    3 of 5? I’m a Vikings fan, and that’s crazy.

  14. skins21 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:04 PM

    I’d say they looked past character concerns further back than just last year. Suh ain’t exactly a saint.

  15. footballgod87 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:04 PM

    Getting caught with weed if your a sports star doesn’t mean you have bad character. It just means your dumb for risking your career

  16. hey804 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:04 PM

    I smoke weed all the time and I’ve never been arrested for it. You’ve got to try to get caught for that. Maybe it’s a cry for help.

  17. granadafan says: Apr 4, 2012 6:04 PM

    When you reward bad behavoir, the problems persist because there’s no incentive to change. Already athletes have been spoiled and coddled from an early age, and especially in colleges where coaches cover up arrests, fights, and not studying (*cough* LSU *cough*). Now that they’re making millions they just don’t care and think they’re above the law.

  18. ImproperRedskin says: Apr 4, 2012 6:05 PM

    It’s interesting, though. Detroit has always sort of cultivated the bad boy sports idol. Think back to the Piston teams of yore. It kind of goes with the vibe in the city.

  19. gmenmunny says: Apr 4, 2012 6:06 PM

    All this pot related news and 4/20 is still a few weeks away.

  20. kenny328usa says: Apr 4, 2012 6:06 PM

    When did the Lions become the raiders northern affiliate. Don’t forget about Suh’s character issues. But they didn’t drop the ball there he just pulled the wool over their eyes. He’s a good faker

  21. nineroutsider says: Apr 4, 2012 6:07 PM

    What is up with that pic…is it just me or does Schwartz look like he is holding back the squirts? He has that “hurry up I got to run off to the can” fake smile.

    Perhaps I’m the only one who sees it as that is a look everyone gets from me during early morning meetings…

  22. str8cashomie2 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:08 PM

    **duh** headline ….3/5 in class arrested in last few weeks, obvi they looked past character lol

  23. str8cashomie2 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:08 PM

    thats how u come out swingin and then bottom out at the end of the year

  24. bearsrulepackdrool says: Apr 4, 2012 6:08 PM

    Teams do desperate things, when you suck for so long.

    btw. How’s that Charles Rogers guy doing?

  25. maxvv says: Apr 4, 2012 6:09 PM

    Because as we all know, only bad people smoke pot.

  26. mvp43 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:09 PM

    It all starts at the top.

    When your coach chases the other teams coach down the sideline, you gotta wonder?

  27. larrybrown43 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:10 PM

    I wonder how these toot heads fared on their Wonderlics. But, they don’t matter to some.

  28. deathtoromo says: Apr 4, 2012 6:12 PM

    What the big deal? Ozzie Newsome has made a career doin that in Baltimore.

  29. bws2390 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:13 PM

    Dont forget Charles Rodgers

  30. bearsrulepackdrool says: Apr 4, 2012 6:14 PM

    You also forgot to mention that basket case Suh.

  31. 49erstim says: Apr 4, 2012 6:16 PM

    “you’ll pay the price for your lack of vision”

  32. cali49er707 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:16 PM

    all 32 teams have a guy like this………. when was the last time a superbowl was won with 53 choir boys???

  33. elchapoguzman82 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:18 PM

    At least he’s not a Bengals player.

  34. duanethomas says: Apr 4, 2012 6:20 PM

    Say what you want about Matt Millen but he never…..oh. Wait. Nevermind.

  35. EJ says: Apr 4, 2012 6:20 PM

    apm says:
    Apr 4, 2012 5:57 PM
    All that matters is the scoreboard, right!?

    Yeah, the score is all that matters, except when half of your starters are out on suspension and you can’t score.

  36. radrntn says: Apr 4, 2012 6:26 PM

    just legalize it.

  37. bearsrulepackdrool says: Apr 4, 2012 6:29 PM

    str8cashomie2 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:08 PM

    thats how u come out swingin and then bottom out at the end of the year

    __________________________

    Optical illusion. A result of a soft schedule and the fact that they blew out teams at .500 or below.
    They looked good. But, were only taking advantage of bad teams.

    Oh, and they’re just about putting the same team on the field next year.

  38. vikescry1 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:31 PM

    a little weed? well thats just not smart, stomping on somebody or selling weed to a DEA agent thats really bad.

  39. z0inks says: Apr 4, 2012 6:34 PM

    Look at it from Schwartz’ point of view:

    “Over the past few years, I’ve had first-hand experience with some of the biggest headcases in the NFL: Pacman Jones, Vince Young, Albert Haynesworth, and Ndamakong Suh.

    “At this point, a guy who just smokes a little weed doesn’t sound half-bad.”

  40. whitecastleisafoodgroup says: Apr 4, 2012 6:36 PM

    Maybe the Lions can get the Kottonmouth Kings to do the National anthem for their home opener.

  41. godfatherd says: Apr 4, 2012 6:38 PM

    Between Drew Sharp saying they should be cut and the comments on this article you would think they were out raping and murdering. Here are some facts people should consider:

    -Ray Lewis probably stabbed a guy (maybe just helped cover it up) and people think he is a “great leader”

    -Jerome Simpson had 9lbs of weed at his house and he is going to be on an NFL roster this season

    -Sean Payton stole pain killers from his teams doctors and people thought he was god until the bounty investigation.

    The lions took a few shots on guys, now those guys are in the substance program. As long as they don’t mess up again I could care less.

  42. kungfubillysims says: Apr 4, 2012 6:39 PM

    How did I know without looking that this was an MDS post? Shocking.

  43. lks311 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:40 PM

    I remember the work ethic concern on Fairley, but not a drug related issue. The logic on the work ethic was that they could put him in there with the other two Nebraska DLs and he wouldn’t slough off. LeShoure’s, as noted, was documented so they took a big risk there and, so far, are losing that bet. As for Culbreath? Guy was a seventh round pick that made the practice squad. If he hadn’t been busted for pot, no one may have ever heard of that guy. So…I’m counting 2.

  44. cags777 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:46 PM

    Oye, it’s only marijuana. It is no worse than being in possession of alcohol. The only concerns I would have would be arrests including assault, battery, drunk driving, and real drug charges (cocaine, meth, etc.).

  45. lks311 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:50 PM

    bearsrulepackdrool says:Apr 4, 2012 6:08 PM

    Teams do desperate things, when you suck for so long.

    btw. How’s that Charles Rogers guy doing?
    ______________________________

    Wait, are Bears’ fans seriously weighing in here?

    Smoking (Fairley/LeShoure) v. Dealing (Sam Hurd)

    BTW, LeShoure is a product of the fine state of Illinois…

  46. muckfodell says: Apr 4, 2012 6:51 PM

    Janoris Jenkins needs to take a fertility test.

    Although his production of the field has proven it to be unnecessary…

  47. ilovefoolsball says: Apr 4, 2012 6:52 PM

    This really shouldn’t be any surprise considering the head coach.

    I actually think that Jim should ask to take a hit of that good stuff from his players, might lighten him up a little and make him a likable person.

  48. phillyocmd says: Apr 4, 2012 6:53 PM

    Everybody should be able to smoke pot if they want, including pro football players when it’s their off season! There are more people with health problems from drinking Coca-Cola than smoking weed…WTF!?

  49. phillyocmd says: Apr 4, 2012 6:57 PM

    Not to mention, I don’t know anybody who has ever assaulted, batteried, beat their spouse, killed anyone or failed a breathalyzer getting high…or if they did, they didn’t remember.

  50. nflfollower says: Apr 4, 2012 7:00 PM

    Calvin Johnson admitted he smoked pot in college. What do you think MDS, should they have passed on him? Every situation is unique, and evaluating players requires much deeper analysis than a snide remark about “fitting in with the team they are trying to build”. Pathetic.

  51. packerpride03 says: Apr 4, 2012 7:03 PM

    They are a talented team. It just seems to me though they are a train wreck with the players and coaches they have. Matt Millen couldn’t see the talent and now they pick the guy with the most garbage. Sucks for guys like stafford and johnson bc this could be the down fall of this team.

  52. commandercornpone says: Apr 4, 2012 7:03 PM

    meet your bengals north!

  53. theytukrjobs says: Apr 4, 2012 7:09 PM

    As long as you can play football and don’t shake hands too hard, you are cool in Schwartz’s books.

  54. staffordsyear says: Apr 4, 2012 7:12 PM

    In mayhew i trust.

  55. 808raiderinparadise says: Apr 4, 2012 7:16 PM

    hey804 says:
    Apr 4, 2012 6:04 PM
    I smoke weed all the time and I’ve never been arrested for it. You’ve got to try to get caught for that. Maybe it’s a cry for help.

    ——————————

    You must be white and not drive a $80K car with 24″ rims, loud sound system, limo tint and a license plate that says “sauced” while speeding around town.

  56. wilkieohio says: Apr 4, 2012 7:17 PM

    Detroit is following Cincinnati’s strategy…I personally would try a different strategic approach…but maybe they feel they can do it better (of course, most can!)

  57. Kave Krew says: Apr 4, 2012 7:22 PM

    THIS SUMMER – Hards Knocks to Jets camp and Cops to Lions camp

  58. shlort says: Apr 4, 2012 7:28 PM

    Not only did they look past character, they looked past heart, ability and talent.

  59. rmc1995 says: Apr 4, 2012 7:31 PM

    Fairley fell to 13 because Locker, Gabbert, and Ponder were way over drafted.

  60. nfl1818 says: Apr 4, 2012 7:31 PM

    mikel was caught trying to swallow weed after being pulled over. Question for all you smokers Is that the best place to hide weed ? Is there no other place in a car to hide it. The bigger concern than his habits and injuries would appear to be his thinking

  61. butkus54 says: Apr 4, 2012 7:32 PM

    babyhorsemorgan … have read your comments … your an idiot !

  62. bearsrulepackdrool says: Apr 4, 2012 7:34 PM

    lks311 says: Apr 4, 2012 6:50 PM

    bearsrulepackdrool says:Apr 4, 2012 6:08 PM

    Teams do desperate things, when you suck for so long.

    btw. How’s that Charles Rogers guy doing?
    ______________________________

    Wait, are Bears’ fans seriously weighing in here?

    Smoking (Fairley/LeShoure) v. Dealing (Sam Hurd)

    BTW, LeShoure is a product of the fine state of Illinois…

    ____________________________

    The “dealing” happened while he was a member of the team. The team didn’t know about it and then still decide to draft him.

    O, and the article clearly stated where LeShoure was from, what’s your point? We didn’t draft him.

  63. detroitrollin22 says: Apr 4, 2012 7:41 PM

    Big Ben raped two women

    Donte Stallworth killed a man while he was drunk and high

    Leonard Little has two DUIs and killed a women while he was drunk driving

    I believe these actions are a hell of a lot worse then getting caught with a little weed. The NFL should do more to players who get caught Drunk Driving. That’s just my personal opinion.

  64. danjacob12 says: Apr 4, 2012 7:48 PM

    Strange because the weed in Michigan is, to quote Sir Charles…”Turrible”

    Uh, Michigan is a medical marihuana (sic) state now, dude. Been to a dispensary lately? Turrible compared to Amsterdam…..maybe.

    In other news, yesterday the NFL released the designs of the new uniforms, and the Lions released the design of their new team bong.

  65. mjkelly77 says: Apr 4, 2012 7:55 PM

    Ahhhh, the haters … they’re all scared little boys.

  66. andyreiddoublecheeseburger says: Apr 4, 2012 8:07 PM

    Better to eschew character than talent. Matt Millen eschewed both

  67. teague31 says: Apr 4, 2012 8:17 PM

    Character concern and a simple misdemeanor weed possession should have nothing to do with one another.

  68. rexachss says: Apr 4, 2012 9:45 PM

    These guys wouldn’t get caught if they would stop driving with that crap! !!!

  69. vikescry1 says: Apr 4, 2012 9:52 PM

    mjkelly77 says:
    Apr 4, 2012 7:55 PM
    Ahhhh, the haters … they’re all scared little boys.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————- nobody’s scared of your team man! my backup QB dropped 6 touchdowns on yah last year! not scared just laughing….

  70. rhett16 says: Apr 4, 2012 10:09 PM

    I can’t really blame the players. Getting high is probably the only way to deal with things after you realize you are stuck in Detroit.

  71. cmdrsmooth says: Apr 4, 2012 10:59 PM

    Have you ever watched the Lions? On weeeeed?

    Just kidding, upset no mention of Tebow to prove that if you draft high character players you too can win games.

  72. mjkelly77 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:14 PM

    vikescry1 says:Apr 4, 2012 9:52 PM

    nobody’s scared of your team man! my backup QB dropped 6 touchdowns on yah last year! not scared just laughing….
    ___________________

    Dropped ‘em on a third-string defense. Not scared? You’re either delusional or not bright enough to comprehend. You’ll see.

  73. zn0rseman says: Apr 4, 2012 11:18 PM

    Keep in mind these guys are in the crater of a city called Detroit, where cops generally take hours to show to a crime scene, and they don’t even respond to burglaries anymore.

    Look up ‘The Ruins of Detroit’ for some amazing pictures and read the Wiki page on the 1967 Detroit riots, for some additionally fascinating history.

  74. garyman1 says: Apr 4, 2012 11:21 PM

    Hang in there Lions fans…..you still have a few weeks for the other 2 players to get caught, thus insuring a perfect 5 for 5.

  75. hyzers says: Apr 4, 2012 11:31 PM

    Strange because the weed in Michigan is, to quote Sir Charles,

    …”Turrible”

    ————————————————

    HAHAHAHA ….. Sure thing dude…

    I haven’t seen herb with a seed in it for over 4 years.

  76. m2karateman says: Apr 4, 2012 11:33 PM

    ‘…..but the reality is plenty of people questioned the Lions’ decisions at the time.’

    You mean like, all the draft analysts that were saying that the Lions did more with just 5 picks in 2011 than most other teams with more at their disposal? You mean like the draft analysts who gave the Lions an “A” grade for their 2011 draft? The same analysts that said the Lions got great value with every single pick? Those ‘plenty of people’? Are those the ones you are talking about?

  77. so1ar says: Apr 4, 2012 11:34 PM

    what is the white player to black player ratio for being caught with weed? has to be 1:200.

  78. gmsalpha says: Apr 4, 2012 11:38 PM

    ImproperRedskin says: Apr 4, 2012 6:05 PM

    It’s interesting, though. Detroit has always sort of cultivated the bad boy sports idol. Think back to the Piston teams of yore. It kind of goes with the vibe in the city.

    ======================

    The first two musicians that come to mind when I think of Detroit are Eminem and Kid Rock.

    It’s not like those two are saints either. Detroit has a personality about it and it seems to encompass all walks of life and lines of work.

  79. xx4zu1 says: Apr 5, 2012 1:28 AM

    sounds like a fun locker room

  80. cluelessdufus says: Apr 5, 2012 2:10 AM

    Fairly is no suprise to me he will be a bust that why Carolina and my Minnesota Vikings passed on him.He to inconsistent and too many flags around him that I don’t know why the Lions think they need to do that stuff he was a 1 year wonder.But also Newton was and I still have questions for Newton for his second year he needs to lower the interceptions and be smart.Leshoure I thought would be a solid back and still has the chance to but needs to stay out of drugs

  81. rexryanschoolofpodiatry says: Apr 5, 2012 4:24 AM

    thereisfootballwestofjersey says: Apr 4, 2012 5:56 PM

    Strange because the weed in Michigan is, to quote Sir Charles,

    …”Turrible”

    ———————-

    That doesn’t even make sense. Michigan has legalized medical marijuana. We get the same top quality seeds from all over the world as everyone else. The pot here is actually awesome.

  82. krakyahead says: Apr 5, 2012 4:30 AM

    hyzers says:
    Apr 4, 2012 11:31 PM
    Strange because the weed in Michigan is, to quote Sir Charles,

    …”Turrible”

    ————————————————

    HAHAHAHA ….. Sure thing dude…

    I haven’t seen herb with a seed in it for over 4 years.

    I live in detroit and thats a big fat ditto!

  83. scoregasmic says: Apr 5, 2012 6:20 AM

    For all those mentioning Suh’s character issues…do some research, a couple of Hard hits made to look worse than they are by ESPN so they can have a story and 1 stomp shouldn’t define character…suh does more for the community and charity than any other athlete I’ve seen. Just cause he’s intense and likes to hit people doesn’t mean he’s a bad person…with that logic Ray Lewis is a jerk…and I think most would agree he is not

  84. e15725 says: Apr 5, 2012 7:14 AM

    I’ve been in law enforcement for 23 years and trust me when I say you gotta go out of your way to get caught with weed. What are they doing , driving around with a neon sign saying ” he got weed!!” ? Knuckleheads with nothing but time on their hands and money to burn .

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!