Lions will have a 'look-see' at Clarett

Despite his very public falling out with "THE Ohio State University" and his so-called association with gamblers, the Lions are smart to take a look at the 20-year old simply because he has the talent to play in the NFL and the Lions have a need at the running back position.

(ALLEN PARK) - All the so-called baggage aside, the Detroit Lions are going to perform due diligence when it comes to former Ohio State star tailback Maurice Clarett.  

Clarett will join about a hundred or so other athletes who will strut their stuff for presidents, GMs, coaches and assorted scouts from all 32 NFL teams.  While he is unlikely to work out for the scouts he will interview with several teams including the Detroit Lions.

Lions coach Steve Mariucci doesn't seem to be nonplussed about the possibility of young players entering the NFL.  He just adds them to the group of players that his team takes a look at.

"When the juniors declare, or sophomores, or eighth-graders, when they declare for the draft, then our scouting department will do their research," said Detroit Lions coach Steve Mariucci.

There is no reason for Detroit not to do the same thing with Clarett.

Despite his very public falling out with "THE Ohio State University" and his so-called association with gamblers, the Lions are smart to take a look at the 20-year old simply because he has the talent to play in the NFL and the Lions have a need at the running back position.

Then the coach confirmed that the Lions will do just that.  "He's on our list," Mariucci confirmed and then added, "I'm anxious to hear him speak a little bit. I don't know him at all. I've heard a lot about him, not only from his college days but his high school days as well."

What can be known is that Clarett was one of the most highly touted prep stars in Ohio high school football history.  After committing to Ohio State, Clarett rushed for 1,237 yards as a true freshman with the Buckeyes despite missing several games with a shoulder injury.

He was suspended indefinitely from the University after filing a false police report in connection with a break-in into a vehicle that he was driving.  Later, Ohio State claimed that Clarett had received extra benefits amounting to "thousands of dollars" and made the suspension for the entire 2003 season to avoid NCAA sanctions.

Clarett sued the NFL and the NCAA saying that he would be irreparably harmed by the NFL's draft restrictions on players with less than three years out of high school.  Clarett won and then when a stay of Judge Shira A. Scheindlin's ruling was denied, entered the draft and was invited to the NFL draft combine.

"How (Clarett) does," said former Dallas Cowboys personnel guru Gil Brandt to the USA Today, "is going to be quite interesting."

While some scouts rate Clarett as no better than a middle of the road prospect, that could all change when he works out for NFL scouts.

In a draft that is weak on talent at the running back position, only Michigan's Chris Perry, Oregon State's Steven Jackson and Virginia Tech's Kevin Jones appear to be the equal of Clarett and few have the "wow" factor that Clarett brings to the table.

If Clarett is still on the board when and if Detroit takes its 6th pick in the second round, don't be surprised if his name is called.  Not only does he have the talent to play in the NFL, but here's betting he's a success.


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