Mike Valenti: Risk Mitigation
Well inevitably I’ve been asked to blog about something…thanks Evan.
This will not be amazing or Pulitzer Prize winning. In fact it might bore many of you. With that let’s begin.
Can the Lions afford to take a massively talented player with baggage in this year’s draft? My answer? Absolutely.
The two players I get asked about most are former Florida CB Janoris Jenkins and ASU LB Vontez Burfict. Both players have baggage but may well be the most talented player at their respective positions and BOTH may be available to the Lions when they select in the 1st Round.
With Jenkins it is a sorted tale. The guy has been tasered by cops, busted for drugs…twice, and gotten into a fight. He also managed to get booted from Florida which means you got to be a pretty big knuckle head. Did I mention he has FOUR KIDS from THREE women? Problem is he was also a Freshman All-American, a sure fire Top 10 pick and on field the guy is as good as it gets. Need I remind you of that Saints playoff game? Jenkins could very likely be an impact guy early on.
Burfict is a bit safer so to speak. The guy doesn’t run around treating life like a Motley Crue hotel room but he manages to do so on the field. In short, the guy is a walking personal foul. He’d fit right in with the Lions. He is nasty, plays through the whistle, talk’s immense smack and also happens to be a terrific talent who could make the Lions front seven a nightmare.
So can the Lions afford to take either of these guys? My answer ? YES. For god sake talent still wins and the Lions are very short on it on the defensive side of the ball. No, this isn’t the New England Patriots locker room but I do believe there is enough leadership here that adding a once troubled kid wouldn’t destroy what Martin Mayhew and co. have been building. I believe Matthew Stafford can grow into a Brady type role and command that locker room…if he doesn’t already. Guys like Calvin Johnson, Cliff Avril, Tulloch, and a few others are at a minimum professional and at their best solid foot soldiers to the franchise.
The other thing, and many will hate hearing this…I’m not sold this team wants to play clean cut and be choir boys. The coach is a fist pumping, profanity spitting, coach chasing beast who also happens to be a rock solid leader. Jim Schwartz isn’t changing anytime soon and I doubt many others will either. With that in mind you select the best player. I’m not even going down memory lane with “Guys Lions passed on due to character” as it would make this article 3000-words.
Let’s see how interview process plays out and what these two have to say. Clearly we won’t be privy to those discussions. But on the surface, knowing what I know, I’d absolutely roll the dice here. Both these guys could be Pro bowl type players.
Evan, don’t ask me to do this again for at least 90-days.