Detroit Lions' troubled 2011 draft class raises larger questions
By Albert Breer
Reporter, NFL.com and NFL Network
Published: May 29, 2012 at 05:44 p.m.
Updated: May 30, 2012 at 01:40 p.m.
To at least one talent evaluator, sitting in a draft room a year ago, the list stuck out. Others later acknowledged that, yes, what the Detroit Lions had done was unusual.
Nick Fairley. Titus Young. Mikel Leshoure.
Those on the outside of the league lauded the Lions for the landing three first-round-type talents in the first 57 picks of the 2011 draft. Inside the NFL, though, the drumbeat was decidedly different.
Thirteen months later, the risks have come to roost in Detroit.
Fairley was busted for a DUI in Alabama over the weekend, less than two months after being picked up on marijuana possession charges. Young, regarded by scouts as a high-maintenance player coming out of Boise State, has been kept out of organized team activities after sucker punching teammate Louis Delmas and, according to the Detroit Free Press, rubbing others the wrong way with his attitude. Leshoure, who failed at least one drug test in college, has been busted twice for possession this offseason.
Be assured, plenty of folks are hardly shocked it's gone down like this for the Lions -- a team that, simultaneously, has an enviable young core of talent and seemingly combustible mix of personalities.
"For those three, the signs and the flags were there -- it's not like they didn't have issues," one AFC personnel executive said. "It shouldn't be a huge surprise that these guys are having decision-making problems. Off the field, on the field, the flags were there. And it goes back to this: 'What's your philosophy on character risk? How do you approach the risk? Will it need to be significantly policed?' Those are the questions you need to answer."
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