Here is a sampling of reactions to the Detroit Lions’ selection of Dwight Bentley:
The Detroit Lions have selected a cornerback who was projected by some to be a second round pick. Dwight Bentley is a smaller cornerback with terrific speed and agility. Bentley is confident and very aggressive. Bentley will really have to work on his technique leading into the draft.
Draft Grade B+
Bentley was good value there and also filled a need for the Lions. Can’t complain about that. Bentley might not start this year because he needs to improve on some things, but will contribute and develop into a starter.
The Lions do what they do most of the time – they select the best player available. Dwight Bentley could have possibly been selected at the very end of Round 2, so Detroit is getting really good value with him. He obviously fills a need as well; it’s been well-documented how anemic the Lions’ secondary is.
If Bentley plays as tough and physical as he did at the Senior Bowl, the guy is going to be a solid NFL player. However, he wasn’t overly physical on tape, especially as a tackler and he might be more of a nickel guy in the NFL than a true starting NFL corner.
NFL Ceiling: Potential starter
NFL Floor: “Plus” nickel guy
Cornerback is an obvious need for Detroit and Bentley is a super impressive athlete with explosive closing and deep speed. He wowed with his play in one-on-one drills during Senior Bowl practices. Bentley needs to improve his ball awareness and tackling. Expect him to be inserted as the starter opposite Chris Houston at some point during his rookie season.
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.
The NFL vertical game favors the taller man and that probably explains why a physical talent like Bill Bentley was available in the third round. He’s got good quickness and speed, but he’s on the short side and lacks the explosive vertical leap to compensate. Still, he showed a good nose for the ball in college and flashed a flair for the dramatic by returning two interceptions for touchdowns. Bentley has the talent to make an impact for the Detroit Lions, the question is whether he has the size.