“Cowardly Lions pass on Jalen Carter during vanilla first round”
That’s the best way to describe the opening round of the cowardly Detroit Lions draft debacle. The Lions have a long history of avoiding controversial players and it usually comes around and bites them in the butt.
General Manager Brad Holmes played the latest version of dodgeball as he ignored Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter and painted himself in a corner by selecting a running back in the first round along with a solid but not spectacular middle linebacker who’d have a tough time covering your grandmother in a wheel chair.
Villain vs. Vanilla
A few weeks ago we saw Holmes wear a sweat shirt that said villain. Are we sure it didn’t say vanilla? That’s the way the Lions draft board played out.
Iowa’s Jack Campbell is gritty and hard-nosed. But he is slow, which is a dangerous way to live in today’s NFL. If the Lions were playing at Tiger Stadium in the 1970s I’d have no problem with the pick.
Running backs are a dime a dozen in today’s NFL. Once again if this were 1970 or a second-day pick up the Lions would have aced this draft by selecting Alabama Jahmyr Gibbs.
Let’s address the no ball issue.
The Lions were deathly scared of Jalen Carter. It’s been an issue with this team since the beginning of time. If there are red flags the Lions usually turn on the red light. This brushes against my NFL philosophy. You need a few bad guys in the room, especially on defense.
Is Jalen Carter really a bad guy?
The question remains is Carter really a bad guy? He was involved in a drag race in Georgia in which teammate Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy were killed when their SUV departed the road and hit utility poles and trees at 104 miles per hour.
They were racing Carter’s SUV. I got news for you. The good ol’ boys in Georgia race. Carter did not cause the accident other than racing alongside at 104 miles an hour. All the Lions needed to do was ban Carter from the White Castle on Livernois and Warren – a notorious weekend drag race spot.
What else did Carter do? Oh, yes, he gained nine pounds the week of his pro day and he could not finish his work out. I’ve got the solution for that too. Send him to fat camp.
The last time I checked the Lions employed an array of nutritionists and trainers who get guys in shape. The last time I checked the Lions have rookie camp, OTA’s, mini-camp and training camp prior to the first regular season game.
After all that the man might come into the regular season five pounds underweight and ready to run a marathon.
The Lions preach this Lions culture and I will admit it appears as if Carter does not fit in. However, the culture and leadership is strong enough to absorb Carter. He is big (6-foot-3, 300 pounds), strong and quick.
Oops, my bad. He is 6-foot-3, 309 pounds.
He sometimes struggles at getting off blocks quick enough, but he pushes piles and makes plays. In order to draft Carter there needed to be a 3-0 vote between Coach Dan Campbell, owner Sheila Hamp and Holmes. There was no way that was happening. The man does not fit Lions culture, but he must fit Philadelphia Eagles culture because they traded up one spot to take Carter, giving the Chicago Bears an additional 2024 fourth-round pick.
“I think for us, we wanted to get the player,” Eagles GM Howie Roseman said when asked about the trade. “We wanted to make sure we got him. We felt like maybe we could entice the Bears by giving them a pick — not saying they were taking him, had no idea what they were doing — but at that point, we just wanted the player. At that point in the draft, we felt like that was the right decision for us. We talked about wanting to come out with an impact player and we feel like Jalen could be an impact player for us.”
For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet
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