ALLEN PARK - The Lions have a dilemma on their hands. They are aware that two of their starting linebackers, Boss Bailey and Teddy Lehman, are unlikely to be available for the start of training camp. There is even some uncertainty as to whether both will be ready for the start of the preseason.
Adding to their dilemma is the injury history of Bailey who has finished only one of his three seasons in the league and is being asked to move to a new position, middle linebacker in the Lions new Tampa Two defensive scheme. Lehman is still hobbled by ankle problems after playing in just seven games a season ago.
Detroit used their first round pick in this year's NFL draft to select Florida State outside linebacker Ernie Sims, a one man wrecking crew, but one who has at least five concussions in his medical file.
Enter Virginia linebacker Ahmad Brooks, a player who has made himself eligible for the July 13th supplemental draft. Brooks set a Cavaliers record by wracking up an astounding 117 tackles (10 tackles for loss) and showed it was not a fluke by following it up with a 90 tackle season (10 tackles for loss) eight sacks and two interceptions.
But personal problems quickly followed his phenomenal freshman year. Brooks was kicked out of two practices by Virginia head coach Al Groh -- a former New York Jets head coach -- for attitude problems. After his standout sophomore season, knee, ankle and back problems limited him to a disappointing five game season with just 27 tackles to show for it.
Brooks failed an off-season drug test, reportedly the second of his Virginia career and was first suspended, then eventually dismissed from the team. The move hurt Brooks' stock tremendously as he had hoped to reclaim his elite status in his senior season. After consultation with his father, former Washington Redskins player Perry Brooks, he elected to enter the NFL's supplemental draft.
While there is no way Detroit would use a first round selection on Brooks, would they consider using a second? The player most scouts compare Brooks to is Ray Lewis and they believe a motivated and healthy Brooks could have a similar impact.
The Miami Dolphins are known to be interested in Brooks but could only have a shot after Detroit passes on him at least once. Miami GM Randy Mueller has already met with the 6-foot-4, 259-pound standout and they sent him to meet with Michigan State University sports psychologist Lon Rosen.
The question is how high a pick would the Dolphins be willing to spend on a troubled but talented player? They previously used a fifth round pick on defensive tackle Manny Wright in the 2005 supplemental draft.
Detroit could certainly use that kind of player in their lineup, but realize that if they use a second round pick in the supplemental draft, they would forfeit the same round pick in the 2007 NFL draft. What makes Brooks appealing is that he is said to be in solid health physcially and has lost 30 pounds and is back to his 259 playing weight after working out at the Competitive Edge training facility in Atlanta.
Still, with the health and lack of talent currently on the roster, it's something worth considering.