I stayed off Twitter. I turned the volume up and sat upright in a ready-to-jump-off-the-couch-and-celebrate-a-selection-of-a-college-kid-that-may-or-may-not-actually-turn-into-a-productive-NFL-player position. I wanted to experience the wave of irrational emotion the moment the Lions took a cornerback who actually had the talent to play in the NFL. Barry Sanders stepped up to the microphone. He spoke slowly. It was calming.
“Ryan Broyles. Wide Receiver. University of Oklahoma.”*
A full investigation is forthcoming.
“The philosophy is: talent rules the board,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz told reporters afterwards.
I would never question an NFL coach or GM on how to run his team. I wouldn’t ask him when he’s planning on addressing the number one thing that got his team eliminated from the playoffs last season. Nosiree.
I wouldn’t ask whether he saw what happened the last time the Lions tried to build off their depth at wide receiver and picked flashy players with a lot of questions marks. Nope.
I definitely wouldn’t question how much better Broyles was than the three corners taken in the ensuing 12 picks. Never.
Instead, I’ll commend the front office for at least trying to stem my conspiracy investigation by selecting three defensive backs in Detroit’s final six picks. They addressed the problem in the most half-hearted way possible. That’s all you can ask.
There’s only one question I will ask. Can any of them actually do something productive next season? The short answer is not really. The long answer? Well, keep reading.
Dwight “Bill” Bentley, UL-Lafayette, 3rd-Round, No. 85 overall: Apparently Bill is his nickname and what he goes by. We start with one of the worst nicknames of all time and make it worse by reading his scouting report. Strengths: he can cover people in zone coverage. That’s about it.
The weaknesses come from all angles. Playing in the Sunbelt, Bentley struggled with man-coverage. That’s not a good omen. Then there’s this gem: “He is basically non-existent in run support.” Wonderful.
Wait! There’s more! For an extra $9.99 you get a guy who, “struggles to play physically and this could hurt his NFL development given that he will undoubtedly have to play special teams to stick early on.”
To recap: a small, non-physical corner, who can’t tackle, but can cover people as long as it’s not man-to-man. Yay?
Chances of him making an impact: Moderate. The one thing he can do is cover a zone, so people he’ll probably get in the Nickel and Dime situations, but there’s not much upside after that.
Chris Greenwood, Albion, 5th-round, No. 148 overall: If we listen to the hype machine and fast-forward a couple of years, Greenwood is a pro-bowler, but right now he’s a “developmental” player at a position that needs a “ready-to-play-now” player.
Drafted solely for his physical skills, he apparently dominated Michigan’s pro day and Schwartz has already (indirectly) compared him to Brandon Carr, who just signed a $50 million contract with the Cowboys.
But, like any of the great players of our time, there’s some mysteriousness to Greenwood. According to reports after he was drafted, he ran a 4.34 40-yard dash at the pro day. That would have been one one-hundreth of a second slower than the fastest 40 at the combine.** HOWEVA, Before being drafted he reportedly ran a 4.42. Call me a skeptic, but something doesn’t seem right.
Chances of him making an impact: This season? Little to none. He’ll probably play on special teams and do something exciting in the preseason before the reality of moving from Division III football to the NFL sets in. Then the march to Canton will begin.
Jonte Green, New Mexico State, 6th-round, 196 overall: If you could combine Bentley, Greenwood and Green together, you have the greatest corner ever. Green is bigger at almost 6-feet tall and 191 pounds. Apparently he can tackle pretty well and, unlike Bentley, can play man coverage.
The problem is he doesn’t play man-to-man it particularly well, and that’s all he can do. “I’ve got to learn to play different coverages like zone, Cover 3 and Cover 2,” Green told MLive.com. “It’s not always going to be man in the NFL.”
You’ve got a corner who doesn’t know how to play Cover 2. Jonte, welcome to special teams.
Chances of him making an impact: None. None at all.
Who’s ready for Alphonso Smith to start at corner during the 2012 season? I know I am! I don’t think I can wait until September to watch the blown coverages.
*(It actually sounds like Barry said “Bryan Broyles,” but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.)
**(Ran by Josh Robinson, a cornerback out of Central Florida. After the Lions selected Broyles over him, Minnesota snatched him up at the beginning of the third round.)