As we head toward April of 2013 and the NFL Draft, Warchant will take a look at the notable seniors (or draft-declared underclassmen) who train their eye toward the professional ranks. As the process moves along, these stock reports will feature updates. First up in this series, Brandon Jenkins.
Position: Defensive End/ Outside Linebacker
Weight: 260 pounds
2012 Stats: 3 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks - missed season due to foot injury
Career Stats: 40 games played, 119 tackles (81 solo), 37.5 tackles for loss, 22.5 sacks
NFL Draft projections: CBS Sports - 78th overall, NFL Draft Scout - No. 4 OLB, ESPN Scouts Inc. - 78th overall
Jenkins' case is a tough one to wrangle in because of the many unanswered questions in December. At the top of the list is the senior's recovery from his lisfranc injury suffered in the season opener. Is there any chance Jenkins could participate in the NFL Combine in February, and if not, when would he hold his FSU Pro Day or workouts for NFL Teams.
Secondly, where does Jenkins fit into an NFL defensive scheme? As you'll see in most draft projections by the expert sites, the letters O-L-B appear next to his name nearly across the board. Jenkins' frame is that of a classic "tweener", meaning he'd be an undersized true defensive end in a 4-3 professional defense, yet he'd have to shed a few pounds to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
If Jenkins can answer questions about health first, then the topic of discussion becomes where he fits in to the pro game.
First and foremost, Jenkins' burst of the line is elite. The ability to time a snap count and beat a tackle around the edge was how he first announced himself in the college game. Not to misconstrue a term here, because all defensive ends have to be physical, but when it came to finesse moves off the edge, Jenkins was amongst the best in the ACC and nationally while at Florida State.
Because of his in-between frame, the question for Jenkins becomes 'can he shed the blocks of massive NFL tackles'? Jenkins is listed at 260, but he will need to prove that he can operate with burst and agility at that size if he wants any shot at being a 4-3 end at the next level.
Where does he fit in the NFL?
If his responsibilities were solely to rush the passer, Jenkins could likely find some traction in a 4-3 scheme. But if he wants to create more value for himself in a top-heavy edge rusher draft, Jenkins will look to show the agility and lateral technique of an outside linebacker. Assuming a full return to health, his body and skill set likely fits into a 3-4 defense more naturally.
Over the next three months, he'll look to show/improve
As mentioned above, Jenkins will look to show no ill-effects from the lisfranc surgery. While that in itself is a huge hurdle to climb, if Jenkins makes the recovery, he will then have to prove to scouts he possess the requisite traits of an NFL outside backer. Unless he is destined to be a role-player in the pro's, Jenkins must show prowess from sideline to sideline and the understanding of both linebacker technique and schemes.
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