When the first set of NFL mock drafts came out after the 2010 season, one of the popular choices for the Detroit Lions' first-round selection was cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who was then a Florida Gator. Jenkins did not end up declaring for the draft, though. Instead he transferred to North Alabama after being booted from Florida for again being caught with marijuana.
Although the character concerns remain, Jenkins is still projected by many to be a first-round pick this year. In fact, ESPN's Mel Kiper has the Lions taking him with the 23rd overall pick in his latest 2012 NFL mock draft. Here's why:
At one time, Jenkins was destined to be a top-10 pick, and his talent level hasn't dipped. After exiting Florida, he spent a year at North Alabama, and is finally ready for the NFL. As a pure cover corner, in terms of pure instincts, ball skills and athleticism, you're looking at a potential Pro Bowl player. Jenkins is already a major threat in the return game. He has a history, but get him in the right system, and you could have a star. We know Detroit needs help at corner, and Jenkins might be too much value to pass up here.
Last year, cornerback Jimmy Smith dealt with a lot of talk about character concerns in the lead-up to the draft. There was speculation that the Lions might take him 13th overall, but they ultimately went with Nick Fairley. Smith ended up being selected 27th overall by the Baltimore Ravens. This year, the Lions hold the 23rd overall pick, so it certainly would not be surprising if Jenkins fell to that slot and ended up being the pick.