Dwight "Bill" Bentley is a native of Pahokee, Florida, where he teamed up with fellow draft hopeful Janoris Jenkins in high school to win three state championships. In college at Louisiana-Lafayette, Bentley amassed an impressive 232 tackles and seven interceptions.
Not only is Bentley impressive in the turnover game, but he took back two of his three interceptions in 2011 for a touchdown. He started 44 games while in college, and concluded his career by being a first team All-Sun Belt selection at cornerback.
Another impressive credential that Bentley boasts is his performance in the Senior Bowl after becoming a late-injury replacement on the roster. Bentley came in and displayed an aggressive physicality that had scouts talking about the former Ragin' Cajun.
According to Frank Cooney of the Sports Xchange, Bentley's strengths are:
[N]atural coverage skills...aggressiveness which he showed in abundance during Senior Bowl practices where he looked good against bigger receivers.
However, a major drawback for Bentley was that:
[H]is 31.5-inch vertical jump was disappointing because at his height, he will need all the hops he can get against big NFL receivers.
Bentley relies on his aggressive nature to stay in coverage with bigger, stronger receivers, but that may not be enough to propel him to a starting job in the NFL. Bentley has a better chance of finding the field as a nickel corner covering slot receivers, which is a better physical matchup at the moment.
The NFL vertical game favors the taller man and that probably explains why a physical talent like Bill Bentley was available in the third round. He's got good quickness and speed, but he's on the short side and lacks the explosive vertical leap to compensate. Still, he showed a good nose for the ball in college and flashed a flair for the dramatic by returning two interceptions for touchdowns. Bentley has the talent to make an impact for the Detroit Lions, the question is whether he has the size.
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