"Everybody always doubted me, that's why I play with a chip on my shoulder."
When the Lions selected Dwight "Bill" Bentley with their third pick in the 2012 NFL draft, there was a lot of confusion and concern about waiting to pick up a receiver who, from a measurables standpoint, wasn't what one considers an NFL corner.
It's not the first time Bentley had heard that. Overlooked out of high school, he settled for the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns. So add "small-school competition" to the list of reasons we thought the pick was a bit crazy.
All that does is fuel his fire, and it's that competitive nature which will make Bentley a huge success this year.
Bentley is most definitely undersized at 5'11" (some people say 5'10") and 180 pounds, but he's already making waves in camp.
He's not afraid to take on Calvin Johnson. He's not afraid to take on Nate Burleson.
Bentley's also not afraid to question both as to why he missed a pass or blew a coverage, according to MLive.com's Justin Rogers. He spoke with Burleson about it.
When I'm in the slot, I might get open on him and he'll pull me aside right away and ask me what did he give away, what can he pick up on that I'm seeing as a veteran," wide receiver Nate Burleson said. "It's good to see a young guy that isn't afraid to ask questions like that. Most guys come out here and keep quiet, and that usually puts them a step behind. But for him, he wants to get out there, he wants to play this year. He sees the opportunity in front of him and he wants to take advantage.
That's what you want to hear about a rookie, and Burleson is right; not every rookie will do that. Whether it's pride, mistrust or arrogance, most young men want to show they can do it on their own.
Don't get me wrong, Bentley is bent on doing that as well. He's just wise enough to know he needs every edge he can get.
Another pitfall some rookies can fall into is being a bit overwhelmed, both by scheme and players. One might be a little put off covering Calvin Johnson on day one.
Not Bentley. He told Rogers he's not worried-he just plays.
"We all know that's the man," Bentley said. "I mean, what can I do wrong going against Calvin? I can only do right."
Going against Johnson is a perfect trial by fire in a division with Brandon Marshall, Percy Harvin, Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings. He will find no lack of dynamic wide receivers looking to test a short rookie corner.
With Aaron Berry gone, Bentley has slipped into a potential starting cornerback spot across from Chris Houston. While his competition isn't Darrelle Revis, guys like Jacob Lacey, Chris Greenwood and Alphonso Smith aren't going to hand him the job.
Like everything else, Bentley will have to fight for everything he gets, which suits him fine and will make him that much better at his job.
The Lions couldn't have asked for a better player coming into camp. The chip on his shoulder which drives him will push him to take his game to new heights.
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