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A Closer Look: CB Janoris Jenkins Worth The Risk?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 19, 2012 – 11:31 am

There isn’t much intrigue surrounding the Vikings #3 overall pick in next week’s draft. Most expect the Vikings to take LT Matt Kalil. But even if the Vikings surprise by taking someone other than Kalil, the list of players is very likely limited to two players – WR Justin Blackmon, CB Morris Claiborne.

But that doesn’t mean all intrigue about the draft is lost. Much can happen in the 1st round after the Vikings choose, and then once the 1st round concludes all attention will shift to the 2nd round, which will occur on Friday evening. All day on Friday, then, Vikings fans will speculate and wonder what their team will do with the 3rd overall pick of the 2nd round.

That’s where the subject of today’s “A Closer Look” piece enters the equation. Janoris Jenkins, an extremely talented CB from North Alabama, is a player many fans haven’t seen play. He’s also a player many draft experts shove down their draft boards, which means fans don’t necessarily familiarize themselves him.

Jenkins is a 5-10, 182-pound CB who began his college career at the University of Florida and concluded it at North Alabama. At Florida, Jenkins was a Freshman All-America and Freshman All-SEC in 2008, and he was First-Team All-SEC in 2010. At North Alabama, Jenkins was a Second-Team All-America Division II. Scouts will tell you he’s excellent in press-man coverage, sinks his hips well, has “plus” athleticism and explosion, catches the ball when he gets his hands on it and takes good angles against the pass. I have him as the 2nd-best CB in this draft behind only consensus top choice Morris Claiborne.

With all of that said, why is he rated low by many NFL draft observers? Why do some think he’ll slip out of the 1st round completely? It’s largely because of off-field issues. Jenkins had 3 marijuana-related arrests while playing at Florida, which is why he was kicked out of the program. There are other off-field alerts on him as well, which we won’t get into here on the vikings.com Blog.

Suffice it to say, many have dragged Jenkins’ name through the mud. Whether you think it’s fair or not, the fact of the matter is many consider Jenkins too much of a character concern to select early in the draft. For Jenkins’ part, he seems to accept that fact, but he’s also adamant that selecting him in the draft will not be a mistake.

“Certain teams told me they thought I would be a thuggish kid with baggy jeans or one of those wild guys,” Jenkins told Aaron Wilson of Scout.com.  “When they meet me, they see I’m not a bad kid.  Just made some mistakes and everybody makes mistakes.  The NFL is going to get a good person who will give back and reach out to kids and talk about the things I’ve done in my past and talk to them about not making the same mistakes I made.”

So what do you think, Vikings fans? Jenkins is a talented CB who by all accounts has the physical ability to be a difference-maker in the NFL. An objective view of Jenkins, though, will also reveal a high potential for character concerns. The debate will be split on this, and we want to know if you think Jenkins is worth the risk of selecting with, say, an early 2nd-round pick should he slide out of the 1st round.

Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry…


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