North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins would fill a pretty big need on the Lions defense if they took him with the 23rd overall pick in the draft.
And that creates a problem for the Lions. The biggest reason Jenkins could be available at that point in the draft is because he was arrested twice on marijuana-related charges in three months while playing for the University of Florida. That led to his dismissal from the school and, added to some other character issues, has led to Jenkins getting knocked down boards below where the draft’s most talented cover corner usually winds up.
The Lions are dealing with a bunch of headaches right now thanks to three members of their 2011 draft class getting arrested on charges related to marijuana and that’s making them gunshy about rolling the dice on character for a second year in a row. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports that a team source told him there’s a slim chance that the Lions will draft Jenkins in the first round because of the red flags in his past.
That’s what we call a 180 degree turn in thinking when it comes to character issues in the draft and it is one that seems unlikely to be a smokescreen to make sure Jenkins falls to them. There aren’t likely to be too many teams looking to trade up above the Lions to take a risk on Jenkins whether or not they think Detroit is going to select him.
Whichever way the Lions go with Jenkins will be a risk. They just have to choose if they prefer risking losing out on a talented player for a safer one or if they like things the other way around. They went with talent last time and the results appear to be pushing them toward safety.