First-round projections for Janoris Jenkins have been fewer and further between of late, so it was a surprise to see Jenkins go in the first round of SB Nation's 2012 NFL Mock Draft. Here's what Pride of Detroit, the Lions blog that snagged the former Florida corner, has to say about their pick.
As tempting as it was to go defensive line in the first round for the Lions for the third year in a row and select somebody like defensive end Whitney Mercilus, I couldn't pass up the chance to improve the Lions' secondary. A year ago, when it was suspected that Janoris Jenkins would go pro, many people had predicted the Lions to take him with the 13th overall pick. Then he decided to stay in school and ultimately landed at North Alabama after being kicked out of Florida.
There are definitely several character concerns surrounding Jenkins, but the Lions have a very strong locker room, especially on defense. There are a lot of leaders on the team who would take Jenkins under their wing, and he is talented enough to select, even with the concerns. He has been compared to Asante Samuel, who the Lions nearly acquired last summer and were briefly linked to at the end of March. Rather than give up a few draft picks and a high salary to trade for Samuel, the Lions' best bet is to draft a player like Jenkins. He would fill a big need at cornerback and immediately improve the Lions' pass defense.
I don't know that I would put Jenkins in a locker room that includes as many strong personalities as the Lions locker room so casually, and I know that I'd be particularly leery about taking a guy with a documented problem with hiding his marijuana use from the law just a few weeks after Nick Fairley got hit with a possession charge, but Jenkins' talent is undeniable. And if the Lions do pick him, I'm going to groan, because I know he'll pick off Aaron Rodgers at some point.