He is the consensus No. 1 cornerback available in next week’s NFL Draft and could certainly be in the conversation for the Lions at No. 5. General manager Martin Mayhew and Co. could also look to add a cornerback later on in the draft.
Mayhew did, however, speak highly of corners currently on the roster.
“Two of them (Bentley and Greenwood) had their season derailed by injuries early in the process.”
That makes both of those players -- and even Green to an extent -- wildcards for the Lions in 2013. The team thinks they have a few pretty good players who can potentially be valuable contributors, but those players still have to prove it.
Bentley injured his shoulder in the preseason last year and never completely recovered. He earned the starting role out of training camp, but the reoccurring shoulder problems eventually halted his season after only four games.
“Bentley came in and from day one was head and shoulders above the other two, performed at a very high level and was going to be a starter for us,” Mayhew said. “He would have probably started 16 games if it weren’t for that shoulder.
“He’s a very, very good player. Very talented, very quick and has some playmaking skills on the ball. He’s got some man-cover skills, has played some inside so he brings a lot to the table.”
Bentley had shoulder surgery during the season last year and should be 100-percent in 2013.
Greenwood never got on the field for a game after suffering an abdominal tear in the offseason training program. He was never removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list.
“Greenwood is probably the most physically talented in that group. He’s got that size (6-1, 193) and speed that we were talking about; that elusive, big corner we’ve been trying to find,” Mayhew said. “He’s got all that, but he went to a smaller school (Albion)."
Like Bentley, Greenwood should be 100-percent healthy when he takes a crack at winning a starting spot. He might have some developing to do, though, being from a Division III school and having missed training camp last year.
Green ended up developing the most of all three because he stayed healthy.
“Jonte Green had more starts than any one of those guys,” Mayhew said of Green’s five starts in 2012.
Green is a big, physical corner (6-0, 184), who didn’t seem overwhelmed last season.
“All three of those guys are good players and we expect them to be around for a long time,” Mayhew said.
If the Lions do ultimately decide to draft another cornerback to bring into the fray, he’ll have to earn a spot, and he should have some good competition for it from those three second-year players.