John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor
Big John. Big Bad John.
The Denver Broncos will need to draft a Defensive Tackle in the 2013 NFL Draft. Even if they sign a Free Agent. The good thing is that this year’s DT class is deep with productive players. There is even a stacked upper tier. The bad news is, there are other teams searching for the same position. Whether the Broncos draft one with the 28th overall pick or not , we need to see what’s available.
One of those prospects is John Jenkins, a 6’4", 359 lb. Defensive Tackle out of Georgia. He is rated 31st overall and 6th among 218 DT’s across the nation. Jenkins is expected to be selected in the late 1st-early 3nd round in April’s Draft. Of note, Jenkins started ahead of the massive Kwame Geathers, who is a declaring junior in the 2013 draft.
Jenkins is a JUCO transfer from Gulf Coast (Mississippi) Community College. He played two seasons there (24 games). As a sophomore, John made 41 Tackles and added 2 Sacks, while ranking as the 6th best JUCO player in the country.
In 2011, he transferred to Georgia. He played in 14 games, starting 7, with 28 Tackles, 6 Tackles For Loss, 3 Sacks, a Forced Fumble, a Fumble Recovery and an Interception. Talk about a disruptive force. That performance got him named as one of the Bulldog's Newcomer of the Year Award recipients. Jenkins finished his career in Georgia with a total of 78 Tackles, 8 TFL, 4 Sacks, 1 INT, 1 FF and 1 FR. Born: July 11, 1989
Jenkins had his pick of elite Football Bowl Subdivision schools coming out of Gulf Coast Community College in Mississippi after the 2010 season. The four-star recruit passed up Auburn, Miami and other programs to join the Bulldogs, and had a hand in their SEC East championship in his first year on campus. The Bulldogs hoped he can be as big a difference-maker at nose tackle as another junior college transfer, Terrence Cody, was for Alabama in their 2009 BCS championship season. Jenkins’ build is not as sloppy as that of "Mount Cody," and his pure width and athleticism makes him an intriguing prospect.
The Connecticut native was slowed down a bit in the 2011 preseason with a hamstring injury, and also suffered from heat exhaustion in his first August practice. But he played in every game, starting seven of the last nine contests while accumulating 28 tackles, six for loss and three sacks while facing constant double teams. The school also credited him with 10 quarterback pressures, a large number for a large man. His role continued to grow for his senior season (50 tackles, two for loss, one sack) as he played a number of positions along Georgia’s 3-4 defense.
STRENGTHS Nose tackle prospect with an expansive chest, good length, and a solid overall build. Capable of keeping the line against strong single blocks and double teams, finding the ball and moving within the box to be part of the stop. Flashes decent agility for his size. Capable of pressing the pocket with pure brute strength and a solid get-off, also uses his hands when one-on-one to rip aside blockers and attack the backfield. Can overwhelm single blocks simply with his massive size and frame. Has a quick shake to get a gap against guards in pass protection and the foot quickness and hustle to adjust to moving quarterbacks in the pocket.
WEAKNESSES Thin and narrow built lower body, which contributes to waist bending and poor balance. Ends up on the ground more than you’d like. Susceptible to cut blocks and doesn’t deal well with trash at his feet, though he gives good effort to recover and return to the play. Quickness is decent for his size, but he offers little as an interior pass rusher and will be a two down player in the NFL. Stops on contact with double teams at times instead of pushing through. Plays tall and is slow off the snap, will lose upper-body strength battles to get off-balance. Doesn't fight for inside hand position. As a result, gets rooted out too often by smaller offensive linemen who get underneath his pads and out-leverage him. Could be more consistent shedding to grab ball carriers coming through holes inside.
NFL COMPARISON Gabe Watson
BOTTOM LINE Jenkins is a massive junior college transfer with great upside as a run-stuffer, but is limited to being a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme because of his lack of quickness. His impressive size and strength will likely make him coveted, but needs to improve his balance and pad-level.
Blessed with great size and surprising overall athleticism, it should come as no surprise that Jenkins was one of the more highly regarded junior college prospects in the country when he left Gulf Coast Community College in 2009. Despite being the focus of every opponents' blocking scheme, Jenkins recorded 41 tackles and two sacks while with GCCC and was recruited by virtually every program in the country.
Jenkins made an immediate impact in the middle for the Bulldogs, appearing in 14 games and earning seven starts. He registered 28 tackles, including six tackles for loss and three sacks. The highlight of his junior season -- recording an interception that appeared to put Georgia in position to win the Outback Bowl -- also served as a low point as he suffered a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the rest of the game. The Bulldogs, up 27-20 with 3:56 remaining and in possession of the football, would go on to lose in triple overtime.
Jenkins considered leaving for the NFL after just one season but ultimately elected to return for his senior campaign. While overshadowed by a number of high profile defenders on the Bulldogs' roster, he played a critical part in Georgia earning a trip to the SEC Championship Game, earning Second Team All-SEC honors (as voted by the coaches) with 50 tackles, two tackles for a loss and fumble recovery in 2012.
At his size, Jenkins isn't going to be counted on to provide much pressure on quarterbacks. His primary duty will be to clog up running lanes in the interior. He's quite good in this role and provides just enough of a threat to quarterbacks that he's likely to hear his name called in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
STRENGTHS: Built like a Coke machine and is just as difficult to move. Has a wide frame with thick, strong limbs. Good strength and use of leverage (generally) to hold up to double-teams and create a pile. Surprisingly quick off the snap and can split gaps to destroy plays before they've even begun.
Good lateral agility, balance to slide laterally in pursuit of the ballcarrier to string out the play while fighting off blockers. Keeps his hands active, showing good effort, strength and technique to battle his ways towards the quarterback.
Good bull rusher. Can simply drive opponents backward. Locates the ball well and shows good effort to the flanks. Slips off of blocks to grab on and drag down ballcarriers attempting to slip past him. Very good strength for the drag-down tackle.
Versatile. Has lined up virtually all over the Georgia defensive line. Appears to possess long enough arms to potentially play the five-technique role, as well as at nose guard or defensive tackle.
WEAKNESSES: Provides little in terms of an interior pass rush. Is simply too wide to not get slowed down while squeezing through tight gaps in the interior line and has only phone booth quickness.
Wears down quickly and will need to be substituted often to be fully effective in the NFL. Allows his pad level to rise as he tires, which negates his strength.
COMPARES TO: B.J. Raji, NG, Green Bay Packers -- Like the former Boston College standout, Jenkins' mass and strength are the most obvious of his impressive physical characteristics, but surprisingly light feet and willingness to fight through blocks to provide some interior pass rush are attributes which could lead to a steady ascent as the draft approaches. --Rob Rang
John Jenkins 2013 NFL Draft prospect notes
By Dan Kadar at Mocking The Draft on June 13, 2012
Games watched: Auburn, LSU, South Carolina, Michigan State, Florida, Georgia Tech
First word: Georgia defensive tackle John Jenkins had the ups and downs expected in a player in his first year of Division I college football. The proven with Jenkins is that he's a big body nose tackle who can be hard to move off the ball. Jenkins was reportedly given good feedback by the NFL Draft advisory committee and seriously considered going pro. In 2011, Jenkins quickly overtook Kwame Geathers inside. But don't judge Jenkins by his stats last season (28 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 10 quarterback pressures). His job in Georgia's 3-4 defense is to occupy interior blockers and he does it well.
• Plays with an excellent motor when he's on the field. If a running play isn't stretched too wide, Jenkins is generally around the ball.
• Believe it or not, Jenkins is one of the more athletic defensive lineman on Georgia's roster. Because of that, he may not strictly be limited to playing in a 3-4 scheme in the NFL.
• Even at 351 pounds, Jenkins doesn't have a sloppy body, though he's not exactly tight skinned. At his size, Jenkins moves around nicely and gets a jump off the line of scrimmage.
• In one-on-one situations, Jenkins is hard to move around. He keeps a wide base and has a powerful upper body.
• One of Georgia's defensive MVPs in the spring, along with Jarvis Jones (his roommate).
• Due to his inexperience, Jenkins is rough around the edges in his technique and needs to polish his game. Jenkins' stock will only rise with his consistency. Size, athleticism and potential will get Jenkins drafted. Technique will keep him in the NFL.
• Has to do a better job in one-on-one situations of getting below the blocker's pads to drive them back.
• Only move against the pass is a bull rush. Doesn't have a great rip move, which he'll need to develop.
• At this point, Jenkins isn't an every down, every series player. That's partly due to the depth Georgia has with Jenkins and Geathers being the same type of player.
• Suffered an AC joint sprain in the Outback Bowl following an interception and had an ankle injury last season.
John Jenkins vs Missouri (2012)
John Jenkins vs Auburn (2012)
John Jenkins vs South Carolina (2012)
As the biggest specimen in this year’s draft, Jenkins commands double team attention and thus will have the highest value to teams that run a 3-4 Defensive look. The Nose Tackle is the hardest position to fill since they don’t grow on trees, but the 2013 class has 2 or 3 that can assume the position. John just happens to be one of the dominating ones. That is why he has a high ranking.
Most 350 lb. plus DT’s appear too out of shape to play the Nose, but Jenkins is pretty stout and sinks his hips regularly to play with leverage. He anchors well vs. double team run blocks to clog the middle. He can also split the double team with his strength to make tackles on runs at him. John has enough short burst to make plays within the Tackle box, but he won’t be the one chasing Running Backs down the field. He will give a team a wide body to clog and anchor the middle to stop the run and a Bull Rush on Passing downs. He only has two seasons at the top college level, partly due to academics. At present, he is a 2 Down space-eater. He could end up as a very good NT at the next level, if he can learn more moves and improve his technique. I believe he can be coached up, but issues in academia are a red flag.
Jenkins did not participate in the Capital One Bowl against Nebraska on Jan. 1, because of academics. I suspect this is also the reason he was in JUCO.
Where he fits in Denver: I’ve said it before, John Fox likes big bodies in his Interior Defensive Linemen. If the Broncos believe they can turn this kid into an All-Pro, I can see this selection. Give him some time with Luke Richesson and Jenkins could be an asset in the Mile High City. John isn’t exactly the impact player I envision for a 1st round draft pick, but the rookie contract Cap make this guy a prospect to consider.
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