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Based on talent alone Jarvis Jones is one of the top prospects in the entire draft. He's a dynamic pass rusher with elite speed and technique. Unfortunately, he has well-documented health concerns that will drop him down boards.
Walterfootball.com's Charlie Campbell wrote about Jones' diagnosis with spinal stenosis and how some teams will "overthink" the draft process and miss out on his tremendous talent.
I agree with him to some degree, but the Lions are in a different position than most teams. They can't afford to have another high draft pick's career derailed by injuries. They've seen too many of their young stars go down with serious injuries the last few years and the last thing they need to do is tempt fate again, even for a talent like Jones.
Particularly not now. The Lions need their first round pick to contribute immediately. Last year they, had the luxury of selecting players they could stash and wait to develop. Free agency losses this offseason necessitate most incoming players stepping in and producing from day one with the franchise.
I know, it's the NFL and injuries are unavoidable. The Lions couldn't have predicted that Jahvid Best's concussion history would make him so vulnerable. They couldn't predict that Mikel Leshoure would injure his Achilles nor that Louis Delmas would be hobbled every other week nor that Ryan Broyles would blow out the ACL on his other knee.
Each injury is unexpected, but those four injuries in particular were a large part of the Lions' struggles. Each were relatively high draft choices with injury concerns and the Lions can't make the mistake of going down that road again.
If those aforementioned injuries didn't happen to players considered, well, injury-prone, the Lions would have more leeway in terms of drafting for overall value rather than depth and insurance. If that were the case, the Lions would take Jones quicker than Titus Young could fire off a Twitter rant.
There's a good chance that Jones will be fine and some team will get great value. The Lion's shouldn't count on that probability, though. He has a preexisting condition which ultimately could shorten his career significantly and, for them, the risk clearly outweighs the reward.