St. Louis comes to Detroit to open the season, and the top picks in consecutive drafts—Matthew Stafford (2009) and Sam Bradford ('10)—will face off. But that's hardly the game's biggest oddity. Two rookie cornerbacks, neither drafted in the first round, could start in the game too—and they're best friends from Pahokee, Fla. Janoris Jenkins, a second-rounder from North Alabama, is a lock to go for the Rams. Bentley, a third-rounder from Louisiana-Lafayette, enters the last week of the preseason favored to beat out Jacob Lacey for the spot opposite Chris Houston.
Bentley has had an up-and-down camp. Against Cleveland, he got beat on a long sideline completion by wideout Travis Benjamin, then had a nifty interception. Afterward, coach Jim Schwartz said, "Too inconsistent.... 50-50 isn't going to get it done." The rook doesn't lack for confidence, though. Recently the cornerbacks raced each other after practice, and veteran Alphonso Smith went up against Bentley, who took an early lead in a 40-yard sprint and spent the last 15 yards staring back, Usain Bolt style, at Smith. Bentley's going to need that confidence, and some great cover skills, for the Detroit secondary to improve.