We noted this morning that cornerback Janoris Jenkins comes to the 2012 NFL draft with plenty of character questions. It’s also important to note that Jenkins comes to the draft with one of the best résumés of on-field achievement for any prospect in this year’s class.
Greg Cosell of NFL Films says that based solely on tape, Jenkins is best pure man cover corner in draft.
Jenkins finished his college career at North Alabama in 2011 after getting kicked off the team at Florida, where he had been a three-year starter. When Jenkins announced in early 2011 that he was going to stay at Florida instead of entering the NFL draft, many observers were surprised: Jenkins was viewed as an elite prospect last year, maybe even the best cornerback in the draft, ahead of Patrick Peterson, who went fifth overall to the Cardinals.
Jenkins’ subsequent problems (Florida booted him after two drug-related arrests in three months) don’t change the tape he produced at Florida. Particularly impressive were his games against Georgia’s A.J. Green, who managed just four catches for 42 yards against Florida, and against Alabama’s Julio Jones, who had four catches for 19 yards against Florida. Green went fourth overall in last year’s draft and Jones went sixth, so a cornerback who shut them down is obviously going to appeal to NFL scouts.
That’s what makes Jenkins so fascinating. Some coaches may be concerned that he’ll become a Pacman Jones-sized headache, but if he can keep his nose clean he’s going to be the steal of the draft, a Top 5 talent who will be available somewhere in the 20s or 30s.