There is no prospect entering the 2013 NFL Draft that is harder to figure out than Florida State Seminoles defensive end Brandon Jenkins.
Jenkins, who led the nation in sacks as a sophomore in 2010 with 13.5, has been injury prone ever since.
Many experts thought he would be a first round pick after watching him dominate two years ago, but his junior season was muddied by various ailment and last year, Jenkins missed all but one game with a foot injury. Healthy now, Jenkins will have to prove he can hold up against the rigors of the NFL.
- Physical gifts: Jenkins is a terrific athlete, with a great initial burst coming off the ball. Few big men can get such explosion out of a three-point stance, but Jenkins has shown he has that ability. Combine that with his size and he's dangerous for offensive linemen.
- Size: At 6'3 and 260 pounds, Jenkins has the perfect blend of not being easy to push around and yet being able to bull rush. Jenkins' body type is similar to that of Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs, who eventually was moved to 3-4 outside linebacker. It wouldn't be shocking to see the same thing happen for Jenkins at some point.
- Good technique: Jenkins knows how to use his hands in tight spaces, helping to make up at times for his lack of straight-ahead strength. The ex-Seminole is quick with both his hands and feet, something that is imperative at the next level.
- Injury history: There is no way of getting around this. Jenkins was injured in his first game last year and missed the remainder of the campaign with a Lisfranc foot injury. This will undoubtedly be something Jenkins has to prove is simply a fluke injury and won't be a consistent problem.
- Run defense: Jenkins shows the willingness to play the run, he just isn't very good at it. The youngster has trouble knowing what to do when he's watching the play develop, something that's correctable, but remains an issue.
- Coverage: Once again, Jenkins has a hard time understanding what he needs to be doing. On film, Jenkins easily gets lost in space. In fairness, this is also due to the fact he rarely dropped into coverage, mostly rushing the quarterback.
Detroitlionsdraft.com has this to say about Jenkins:
If you get a healthy Brandon Jenkins, you’re getting a pass rusher with top-level athleticism. He played as a defensive end in Mark Stoops’ 4-3 defense, but may best translate to a 3-4. Jenkins had his struggles to stack and shed against the run in the 4-3. As a 3-4 outside linebacker, his abilities as a dynamic edge rusher are best utilized.
Mike Kirby of examiner.com says this about Jenkins' ability:
His draft stock may have fallen some because of the injuries, but he has first round talent. If he is selected later than that he could be a virtual steal for a team who is in need of an edge rusher. He has the athleticism to play the 4-3 defense rush end or the 3-4 defense outside rush linebacker positions.
- 1st Team All-ACC in 2010 and 2011
- 2nd Team All-American in 2010
- Led nation with 13.5 sacks in 2010 as a sophomore
2013 NFL Combine performance:
Still recovering from injury, Jenkins declined to perform in timed drills at the combine, although he did participate in positional drills. Measuring in at 6'2, 251 pounds, he looked the part of a 3-4 outside linebacker, but will need to have a good showing at the FSU pro day to show that he has the elite burst that so many believe he does.
Jenkins can be followed on Twitter at his handle, @BJenkinsFSU
I live for going against the odds.— Brandon Jenkins (@BJenkinsFSU) February 8, 2013
Overall: Jenkins projects to be a very good pass rusher who can use his speed and athleticism to get around the edge. The ability and drive is there for Jenkins to thrive in that regard, especially as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
The problems lie in other areas. Jenkins hasn't shown the ability to play the run with much effectiveness and has trouble in space dropping into coverage. The NFL will still see tons of value in him because of the need for sacking the quarterback, but combine those problems with his injury and you have a draft stock that has taken a hit.
Jenkins is a mid-round prospect at this point.