Janoris Jenkins worth the gamble?

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Janoris Jenkins worth the gamble?

When it comes to NFL talent, where is the appropriate balance between risk and reward?

Janoris Jenkins is amping up the buzz on this annual draft question.

When you hear that name do you think Northern Alabama standout? Probably not. You likely remember him as the Florida cornerback who got booted out of school for multiple marijuana arrests and a failed drug test.

A shame. Jenkins is a first-round caliber defensive back. He's explosive, he's got good technique and coordination.

But coaches had to probe into his past at the NFL Combine. Jenkins says he looked his firing squad in the eye.

"I was honest, straightforward, told 'em I did it. I admitted to everything, I take full responsibility, and I learned from it."

He talked about the failed test, the drug charges, and the bar fight. The Combine certainly wasn't the first time he'd thought about the past; those Thursday night Northern Alabama games provided a gauge for how far he had fallen.

"There was a couple times. We didn't really play on Saturdays. My Saturdays I watched Florida, watched some of my old teammates play. It struck me, it hit me as a kid. I was just like, 'Man, I'm supposed to be there with those guys.' Just thinking about my past."

How much will teams like the Patriots think about it? Teams that need talent. Period. The 23-year old's arrest record is unimpressive -- that in combination with four children under the age of three has his basic sense of responsibility under the microscope.

Do not underestimate the need for examination.

Brandon Meriweather should be entering his prime in New England. Think about that.

The former Patriots safety should be preparing for his sixth NFL season; he should be playing on a sweet four-year deal. But he was a knucklehead in college and a knucklehead in the NFL. New England gave up on Meriweather after four seasons. The Bears tried a one-year contract but, according to Lovie Smith at the NFL Combine, that "didn't work out" either.

Meriweather has talent -- enough that the Patriots spent their 24th pick of the 2007 draft on him -- but he never grew out of the immaturity and recklessness he displayed at the University of Miami.

Jenkins is another gamble.

He says he's grown up. The dismissal from Florida called for a life change; he believes he's committed to making it.

"Eliminate myself from some of those guys I used to hang with. I think about my mom all the time and my kids. In order for me to be successful and them to have a great life or a nice life I've got to put it behind me. In order for my kids to get what they want, I can be a father to my kids and just be there with my mom."

Getting a team to commit to him is the next step. Might it be the Patriots? Depends on how how lucky they feel.

Bruins sign pair of draft picks, including BC's Fitzgerald, to entry-level deals

Bruins sign pair of draft picks, including BC's Fitzgerald, to entry-level deals

Amidst the current turmoil at the NHL level, the Bruins delivered a little good news about the future today . . . with more potentially to come. 

The Bruins announced the signing of a pair of prospects/former draft picks -- Boston College forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Emil Johansson -- to entry-level contracts that will kick in next season. There will likely be another wave of signings with the Bruins from the amateur ranks once players like Charlie McAvoy, Anders Bjork and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson are finished up with their college teams in the NCAA tournament, though it remains to be seen exactly which players end up taking the NHL plunge. 

There was some uncertainty as to whether Fitzgerald would definitely sign with Boston after completing his senior season at BC, but he will immediately join the Providence Bruins on an amateur tryout agreement after signing a two-year deal. Johansson will join the Bruins on a Professional Tryout Agreement with a three-year entry level deal that kicks off next season. 

The 5-foot-10, 177-pound Fitzgerald was an alternate captain for BC in 2016-17, with 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in 34 games with 56 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating. Fitzgerald is also the son of Billerica native and former Bruins forward Tommy Fitzgerald, who took to Twitter on Friday to voice his overwhelming pride over his oldest signing an NHL contract. He was a fourth-round pick by the Bruins in 2013.

Johansson, 20, completed his first season with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey League in 2016-17, establishing career highs with 7 goals and 10 assists for 17 points with 26 penalty minutes in 49 games. The B's selected him in the seventh round in 2014.

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

With all attention focused on overtaking the Cavs for the No. 1 seed in the East, the offseason -- trades, the draft, free agency -- is on the backburner in Celtics Nation these days.

But that pot's still simmering,

And it began to boil a little today when Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, in the middle of a story on the Clippers being at a crossroad, threw a little accelerant on that old Blake Griffin-to-Boston flame . . .

But more and more people around the league believe he would be open to a fresh start — perhaps with the Lakers or the Boston Celtics, who have coveted Griffin for years and would offer a new chance to win. The most intriguing fit might be if he were to go home to Oklahoma to join Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, but his interests in the entertainment industry make staying in Los Angeles a priority.

Not much of a thread to grab there. But that didn't prevent cbssports.com's James Herbert from looking into it . . .  

Jumping to another contender on a max contract might not be simple. As CelticsBlog’s Keith P. Smith pointed out, Boston would have to dump Terry Rozier, waive Tyler Zeller and renounce all its free agents, including Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson, in order to even get near the amount of cap room that would be required to offer Griffin or someone like Gordon Hayward a max deal. 

Then again, Herbert says the Lakers and Thunder, Griffin's supposed other two destination spots, are even less financially flexible than the C's.

For now, it's all just a temporary diversion from the battle for No. 1.

It's also a reminder, though, that a whole new season -- the offseason -- is just around the corner.