Heading into the National Football League 2012 preseason schedule, the Detroit Lions knew they were going to have to get intense amounts of production from their young and backup role players, especially on defense. On Friday, August 10, they may have finally seen a glimpse of that production in action.
In the preseason opener, the Lions were looking for an indication as to whether or not the loss of their only defensive starter, Eric Wright, would be addressed by a singular entity, or by committee. Did they have a current roster holding that could fill the need? Would they need to package a couple of mid-level talents in order to trade for a major star or shell out the money for a marquee name? Enter this year's third-round draft pick Dwight "Bill" Bentley; problem solved.
Coming out of college as a four-year starter at Louisiana-Lafayette, Bentley was touted as a talented, coverage-ready cornerback who possessed fluid transitioning, excellent read-capabilities, above-average hands and defensive intangibles. Several sporting agencies, including ESPN, Sports illustrated and the plethora of blogs and fan sites deemed him worthy of enough praise to be considered the most likely successor at the position. Against Cleveland on Friday night, he showed that, and more.
After being absolutely torched by Brown's rookie quarterback, Brandon Weeden, Bently snagged and interception and nearly took a second. What was most impressive, however, was the combination of speed and acceleration which he displayed on a per snap basis. Bentley was able to react quickly, when beaten, and to jump prospective passes with ease.
Although head coach Jim Schwartz said, post game, that Bentley had played "too inconsistent for a cornerback," he had to have been pleased with the potential shown in Bentley's first official competition against NFL talent. As for the Lions' fan base, we were.
If his performance during training camp and the brief display during the preseason's initial competition are any indication, Bentley is well on his way to becoming Detroit's answer at the cornerback position. At the very least, he has already shown more potential than the vast majority of defensive backs who have passed through the Honolulu Blue revolving door.
The author, D. Benjamin Satkowiak, is a successful entrepreneur and published, freelance author, who has tailored works on various sports, health and fitness topics. He currently serves as a Yahoo! Contributor Network "Featured Contributor" and writes on the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Great Lakes Loons and Notre Dame football.