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This isn't the first time the Detroit Lions have been in this position.
If no surprises emerge during Saturday's NFL draft, it is likely that Texas cornerback Quentin Jammer will be selected third overall by the ball club. And while the selection may end the tension for many, it still won't prevent both the fans and the organization from holding their breath.
In 1997, cornerback hungry and the inevitable answer available to them with the fifth overall pick, the Lions selected Bryant Westbrook. And although 'bust' may not be a fair term to apply, the physical Texas prospect certainly didn't live up to his billing.
Westbrook, who returned to Texas this past off-season to sign with the Dallas Cowboys, apparently didn't scare his new suitor with a resume that included several injuries with just as many headaches. 'Potential' became uniform with Westbrook throughout his career with Detroit, and the Lions decision not to re-sign him likely had something to do with not wanting to wait any longer.
Besides the obvious similarities at position and school, Jammer's draft profile replicates that of Westbrook's: Excellent physical tools. Aggresive off-the-ball. Likes to bump receivers off the line. Fluid hips. It's almost scary.
Perhaps there is a conveyer machine that generates physically dominate Univesity of Texas cloned cornerbacks. If that's the case, hopefully Jammer was produced from a different mold. But that likely won't be answered until five years down the road.
With the addition of Terry Glenn (Packers) to an already wide receiver-stacked NFC North division, chances favor Quentin Jammer sporting a Detroit Lions jersey next season. Regardless of past misfortune at the position, the team cannot and will not be blinded by it.
If Jammer is, indeed selected, comparisons to Westbrook will be unavoidable. Everytime he gets injured, gets beat deep by Randy Moss, or is flagged on for pass interferance penalties -- although he will have his work cut out for him if he hopes to cause that much frustration -- a comparison will be imminent.
Entering the league is difficult enough for a rookie. Entering as a defensive back makes it that much more difficult. But getting drafted by a team that, along with the fans, has a microscope hovering over your every mistake is almost unworkable.
No one ever said it was going to be easy.
Quentin Jammer allowed just one touchdown in the past two seasons for the Texas Longhorns. In one of the more difficult conferences, that isn't the most easy statistic to accomplish.
If he can at least show some flashes of the brilliance he displayed full-time in college, everyone will be able to exhale.
Now he just has to be drafted.