2013 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Jelani Jenkins

Career Recap: The Gators won the recruiting derby for the highly-touted Jenkins. He was a high school star when he chose Florida. The team redshirted Jenkins in 2009, but in spring practice before the 2010 season, he was one of the breakout stars for the Gators, which had to replace a lot of talent lost to the NFL.

Jenkins recorded 76 tackles as a redshirt freshman in 2010. That led Florida’s front-seven defenders and was behind only safety Ahmad Black on the team. Jenkins chipped in 4.5 tackles for a loss, one interception and two sacks, too.

Jenkins played better in 2011, his second season as a starter. He had 75 tackles, six tackles for a loss, two sacks, one forced fumble, one interception and six passes broken up. Jenkins played well against LSU, Alabama and Florida State.

2012 Season Outlook: Florida’s defense has the talent to be one of the top defenses in the country, and Jenkins is a core part of it. He should be able to play freely in 2012 now that he has two years of starting experience. Jenkins won’t be learning a new defense this year and that continuity should help his performance.

Another thing that should help Jenkins this year is adding more weight. The official listings haven’t been released, but there are reports that he has added a lot of muscle bulk under the team’s new strength and conditioning coach. That should help Jenkins shed blocks and be more forceful in the tackle box. He has good talent around him and could be on the cusp of a big season.

Skill-Set Summary: Jenkins’ sideline-to-sideline speed is undeniable. He runs like a defensive back with plus instincts. Jenkins can fire into the backfield to disrupt runs and has no problem getting to the far side of the field to get in on defending perimeter runs. He’s much better in pursuit compared to when runs go straight at him.

Jenkins has some nice blitzing ability, but with how well he plays in space, he often is defending the open field. Jenkins’ speed and athleticism make him a natural in zone coverage, and he can make quick breaks to get in on plays. Jenkins won’t get beat by speed in pass coverage against running backs and tight ends. He has all the makings of being a standout pass-defender in the NFL.

The biggest way that Jenkins could help improve in 2012 is adding strength. That would help him to shed blocks and hold his ground when runs come his direction. As stated above, there is talk that he has had a huge transformation, really bulking up this offseason.

Jenkins would currently only be a fit as a 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL. He doesn’t fit well into a 3-4 and those teams probably won’t look to heavily into him.

2013 Draft Expectations: Jenkins looks like a potential second-day pick entering 2012. If the junior has a big season and is weighing in the 230s, he could be a second-rounder next April. Jenkins may be better off returning for his senior season in 2013 and improving before going pro.


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