Janoris Jenkins is an intriguing prospect. Had he entered the draft a year ago, the former Florida Gator could have been a first round pick. Instead, Jenkins opted to stay with Florida for another season.
However, on April 26, 2011, just two days before the start of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Gators dismissed Jenkins from the football program for his second drug related arrest in three months.
A year later, Jenkins is still creating a buzz in the pre-draft process. After a strong year at North Alabama, Janoris Jenkins earned an invited to the 2012 Senior Bowl, where he has been one of the most impressive players in practice, according to those on site.
So, what are NFL teams going to do about this extremely talented defensive back with a questionable past? We'll examine that after the jump.
Standing at 5-feet-9-inches tall, Janoris Jenkins isn't going to blow you away with his size. He is lanky and doesn't have a ton of meat on his bones.
But don't let that fool you. Janoris Jenkins is an animal in press coverage. Throughout his collegiate career at Florida, Jenkins showed versatility and instincts that most players would kill for. Even at his size, Jenkins is comfortable playing close to the line of scrimmage, which is an impressive trait for a corner to have.
At the Senior Bowl practices this week, few were better. Here's what Wes Bunting had to say about Jenkins this week via Twitter.
Granted the best cornerbacks in this draft class are underclassmen, but it is still promising that Jenkins has once again emerged as one of the best defensive backs in his graduating class.
So, where does he fit into a talented pool of secondary players?
Morris Claiborne of LSU is the clear-cut top corner in the 2012 NFL Draft. In fact, he is probably the best defensive player available, and one of the five best players overall.
Then comes Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick, who recently ran into some drug problems of his own. Despite that, he is still expected to be the second corner off the board in April.
Things get a bit tricky after those two SEC West thoroughbreds. Many have South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore coming off the board next, and despite some inconsistencies this season, that is likely the case.
After that it's anybody's game, including Jenkins. Nebraksa's Alfonzo Denard has struggled with injuries and was abused by Alshon Jeffrey in the Capital One Bowl. Meanwhile, Oklahoma's Jamell Fleming has his fair share of shortcomings as a prospect, including his lack of physicality. Jenkins will be bunched into this tier of cornerbacks, and if not for character concerns, he would be at the very top of this group.
Teams are going to be talking with Jenkins extensively to get a read on the type of kid he is and how he has grown from his mistakes. I don't know if Jenkins has matured, and neither do any teams until they sit down with him. But make no mistake, if Jenkins proves himself to just one team, he has a chance to be a first round pick. Cornerbacks are in high demand these days, and Jenkins has all of the tools to be a special one.