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(ALLEN PARK) All this draft stuff is getting a little bit serious now.
We're hearing rumors of a Shaun Rogers to New York for a first-round pick rumors. We're also hearing how the Lions have suddenly cooled on Charles Rogers and now are hot for Jimmy Kennedy. Well, that makes about as much sense as David Justice dumping Halle Berry.
The thing to keep in mind in all of this is that smokescreens are going up like a kiln. Everyone's either lying, getting ready to lie, or thinking of a new lie to cover their tracks to try to keep the team behind them from finding out what their draft board looks like.
So let's just cut to the chase.
While the Lions aren't likely to go too far wrong with their first four picks, there are some guys that they definitely need to steer clear from. Hey! We don't intend to be the Cincinnati Bengals when it comes to the NFL draft. We need some players, not posers.
Here are some guys the Lions need to avoid as if they had the plague.
5. Talman Gardner - Wide Receiver, Florida State. Gardner would appear to be an ideal prospect in round two or three after catching 89 balls for 1,589 and 19 touchdowns in his career at FSU, but instead of catching balls, Gardner has been picking up citations. Less than a month before the draft, the 22-year old was busted by police on a felony gun charge and possession of marijuana. Hey, if the Lions got all bothered by Charles Rogers drinking too much water, what's this sample going to find? Just say "no".
4. Kelly Washington - Wide Receiver, Tennessee. Washington, a converted quarterback was a walk-on at Tennessee. Somewhere along the line he picked up the position to the point that he became a viable prospect at the position. But Washington likes to play games. He made a pact with his homeboy, Dante Stallworth that they would both fax their names into the NFL to declare for the draft, but somehow Washington's sheet was blank. He changed his mind and when Stallworth tried to do the same, it was too late. O'Kelly became the main man in Tennessee's offense while Stallworth fumed. Washington, who flamed out after a three-year pro baseball stint with the Florida Marlins organization, (read carefully, Drew Henson) now had the spotlight to himself. Can't you see the games that would be played in the locker room by this guy?
3. Terence Newman - Cornerback, Kansas State. This year's version of Texas corner Quentin Jammer, Newman is a good prospect, but in no way is he head-and-shoulders above the rest of the players in his group, just as Jammer was not. In fact, any team taking a corner higher than No. 5 overall ought to have their head examined. This year's group is about as deep and as talented as you're going to find in years. Not only that, Newman is damaged goods. ''Our doctors say no way can we take him with that injury,'' a Minnesota Vikings scout said of Newman. The problem is that as a true "bump and run" corner, Newman's shoulder injury raises a big red flag. Uh-Uh.
2. Jimmy Kennedy - Defensive tackle, Penn State. Nothing against Kennedy, but when Lions president Matt Millen began talking him up as high as #2 overall, you just held your breath and hoped it was "smoke." We'll find out on Saturday. Kennedy is rated as the third best tackle in the draft, so why would Millen considered taking him second overall? Why take a defensive tackle that high at all when there are about six tackles of the same quality that you can put their names in a bucket a pick a starter anywhere from 10-20th overall? I know he's a Nittany Lion, Matt, but don't do this to the franchise.
1. Larry Johnson - Running back, Penn State. The most overrated player in the draft, period. Yes, we know he's the first Big 10 back to rush for over 2,000 yards, and that's an impressive stat until you consider that more than 1,500 of it came against the bottom five teams in the league. Johnson did not rush for 100 yards against a team with a winning record. Then you remember the Penn State pedigree right? That long list of PSU backs who were unsuccessful in NFL, Blair Thomas, Ki-Jana Carter and Curtis Enis (all rushed for more yardage in their collegiate career than Johnson) are among their top producers. Add into the equation that as late as last year, Johnson was splitting time in the PSU backfield with such notables as Eric McCoo, current Detroit Lion Eddie Drummond and Omar Easy and I think you get the picture here and it's not pretty. It's your girlfriend's meatloaf. Re-heated.
No way, Jose.