CB Dwight "Bill" Bentley (Louisiana-Lafayette) - Round 3, Pick No. 85
The Detroit Lions finally addressed their need at cornerback in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. After going offense in the first two rounds, the Lions went defense with Dwight "Bill" Bentley, a player from a smaller school who could very well make a big impact in the secondary in his first season in the NFL.
A thinner corner with some natural range and click and close ability. However, he isn't real physical, isn't a great tackler and needs some work from a technique standpoint.
Bentley, a four-year starter at Louisiana-Lafayette, is a classic, undersized corner from a small school who has the athletic ability to contend for an NFL roster spot. He will be downgraded for his size and the relatively low caliber of competition that he faced in college, but he is very quick and instinctive. He would be a good option for a team that wants to engender a competition at the cornerback position in training camp. He could have trouble in man-to-man coverage, but he is a good athlete and a team might take a flier on him in one of the later rounds of the draft to see if he can continue to develop.
Positives: Talented cover corner who is flying up draft boards. Fluid transitioning off the line of scrimmage, displays an explosive burst of speed and shows a nice move to the ball. Reads the quarterback's eyes then quickly plants and drives to the pass. Possesses good hands for the interception. Fights to get off blocks to make his way up the field defending the run or screens passes. Displays terrific overall quickness.
Negatives: Loses out in battles. Not a strong tackler. Engulfed by blocks. Prefers to side shuffle down the field and must be more consistent with his backpedal.
What he brings: Bentley's an undersized corner who doesn't offer much in run support who's going to have a tough time matching up with bigger receivers. Still, he's a good value here because of his quickness, fluidity and top-end speed.
How he fits: This secondary gave up a ton of big plays a year ago against the pass. Even with their good pass rush and they keep searching for a turn-and-run corner and they just haven't found that guy. Bentley will have a chance because he's a pure turn-and-run guy and if the pass rush continues to be good, he has a chance to make big plays. This is far from a solved position.
2008: 45 tackles
2009: 58 tackles, 1 sack, 3 INT, 1 TD
2010: 59 tackles, 0.5 sacks, 1 INT
2011: 66 tackles, 1 FF, 3 INT, 2 TD
Outlook for 2012
With there being an open competition for one of the starting spots at cornerback, it is possible that Bentley could come in and make an immediate impact for the Lions. Even if he doesn't become a starter in his rookie season, Bentley figures to be part of the rotation at cornerback and see the field in certain packages. At the very least, he is going to serve as added depth for a position that was severely lacking it before the draft.