Janoris Jenkins

Draft Grades: St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams are in full rebuilding mode, and I wholeheartedly approve of their strategy to trade back and accumulate picks. My feelings on how they spent those picks, however, is a different story.

Michael Brockers isn’t going to make the type of difference that most Rams fans were hoping for from their 1st-round pick when the season ended. But he has a ton of potential and the Rams have more than enough time on their hands to wait for him to develop. By the time they’re ready to compete, he should be reaching his full potential.

Far too many teams approach the 2nd round as though it’s an opportunity to gamble without much risk, when in reality there are usually legitimate difference makers and 1st-round talents still on the board. The Rams did exactly this on Day 2 of the draft.

Brian Quick was huge reach at No. 33. He has the potential to develop into a quality possession receiver, but the Rams really needed to bring in a receiver who could help out Sam Bradford immediately, and Quick is definitely not that guy.

Janoris Jenkins obviously has the talent to be a star, but a rebuilding franchise like St. Louis is not the place for a player with serious off-field concerns. I’m just not sure the Rams coaching staff, front office and veteran players are equipped to handle an off-field project like this.

Isaiah Pead will help take the load of Steven Jackson’s shoulders, but he was a reach in the 2nd round. I don’t see him as a potential franchise back, which the Rams could have found earlier in this draft. Pead is a capable backup, but won’t take the reigns from Jackson once he’s ready to hang up the cleats.

Taking Jenkins was a risk, but pairing him with another rookie corner, Trumain Johnson, who also has serious off-field concerns was just plain stupid. Two young players who couldn’t stay out of trouble in college, now collecting NFL paychecks is a recipe for disaster.

Chris Givens is a deep threat, but that’s about it. He’ll contribute, and they definitely needed another weapon, but there were better receivers on the board in the 4thr ound.

Rokevious Watkins is an intriguing prospect. He has the size and strength to be a dominant interior run blocker, and is actually a decent athlete for his size. He could be a steal in the 5th round.

Greg Zuerlein was the top kicker on my board and actually received a 5th round grade. One of the reasons I like him is the fact that he should immediately be one of the most effective players on kickoffs in the league. He has a huge leg and should routinely force opponents to start from their own 20.

Aaron Brown adds some much-needed depth at linebacker. I was surprised they didn’t address this position earlier than the 7th round, because Brown likely won’t give them the help, at least early on, that they really need.

Daryl Richardson has a legitimate shot to win the third-string running back job, but I have to wonder if the Rams may bring in another veteran. Starting the season with two rookies at the position isn’t ideal.

I have to give the Rams credit for trading back and accumulating picks, but I don’t think they added enough difference makers. The added depth will allow them to be more competitive in 2012, but they took too many risks and made too many reaches. Unfortunately, this probably wasn’t the franchise-altering draft that it had the potential to be.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Rams Comments Off

St. Louis Rams select Janoris Jenkins, Grade C

The St. Louis Rams are gambling here, but I don’t completely hate the move. They have multiple picks in the 2nd round, so I can definitely understand why they were willing to gamble. However, a young team which is likely not going to be competitive for another year or two is generally not a good place for a guy with character concerns. Janoris Jenkins would have been better off in a place where he could be surrounded by veterans.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Rams Comments Off

Some thoughts on Janoris Jenkins

Janoris Jenkins is one of the most volatile prospects in this year’s draft, so I thought it would be worth spending some time reviewing what the “character issues” actually are and how they’ll impact his draft stock.

1) A pattern of poor decisions
I’ve had numerous people reply to me on twitter with the “but half the NFL smokes pot” defense. If this is true, such an argument basically proves why Jenkins is such a risk. If it’s possible for a large portion of the league to smoke responsibly and not get caught, then it must take a special kind of stupidity to fail multiple drug tests in a three-year span. NFL executives are more than forgiving when it comes to drug and alcohol-related arrests in college, but when a player repeatedly makes the same mistakes, that’s when the red flag gets raised.

Janoris Jenkins

Is Jenkins still a 1st-round pick?

And in Jenkins case, the poor decisions are not limited to drugs and alcohol. He has children with multiple women, he was arrested for his role in a bar fight, and was ejected from a game for throwing a punch this past season. Any one of these “character” flaws, could be overlooked, but put them together and you have a pattern of stupidity.

2) Lack of self awareness
To make matters worse, Jenkins showed absolutely no sign of changing while at North Alabama. With his NFL career very much on the line, he (by his own admission) continued to smoke and got into a fight during a game. If a player is capable of self destructing while playing in Florence, Alabama with his career on the line, he is not going to suddenly change when collecting an NFL paycheck and playing in front of 50,000 screaming fans every Sunday.

And if that wasn’t enough, shortly after changing agents (which caught the attention of the national media and raised more than a few eyebrows) he decided to take a trip to Las Vegas. Again, this alone would be completely irrelevant. He’s probably not the only prospect to visit Vegas this offseason. But would it have killed him to wait until May before making the trip? Decisions like these shows that Jenkins just doesn’t get it. His every move is being scrutinized, with millions of dollars on the line, and he just doesn’t care.

3) He’ll fall, but not that far
If Jenkins were a quarterback, his career would be over.  No one will ever gamble on a franchise player with his laundry list of poor decisions. But he’s a cornerback, where athleticism (to a certain extent) trumps preparation and work ethic. For the same reason why Pacman Jones can still have a job, Jenkins will still be drafted within the first two rounds. While teams certainly aren’t excited about his off-field antics, so long as he shows up on Sunday and performs, he’ll have a job. And everything Jenkins has done on the field has indicated that he can excel in the NFL. The off-field issues may hinder his ability to reach his full potential, but even if he continues to make poor decisions, he will likely still be able to contribute on the field.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

5 Players with the most at stake at Combine

1. Alshon Jeffery – WR – South Carolina
Jeffery has been battled weight issues throughout his career and, as a result, some believe he lacks the explosion to separate from coverage at the next level. He’s had plenty of time to get into shape since the season ended, so if he fails to demonstrate adequate athleticism and agility at the combine, it will raise some red flags which could send him tumbling down draft boards.

2. Janoris Jenkins – CB – North Alabama
We know Jenkins can play – we saw that at the Senior Bowl – but can will anyone be willing to take a chance on his character? He’ll be high on the list of guys teams are most interested in speaking with at the combine and he will need to be prepared to answer some difficult questions about the issues which led to his dismissal from Florida.

Floyd's injury history and alcohol issues will be under scrutiny in Indy

3. Michael Floyd – WR – Notre Dame
While Floyd is coming off a strong senior year, he has a long history of both character and injury concerns. He missed time in 2008 (knee injury) and 2009 (collarbone) and was involved in multiple alcohol-related run-ins with the law during his collegiate career. As a result, his medical check-up and his interviews will be crucial in determining his place on draft boards.

4. Quentin Coples – DE – North Carolina
From the standpoint of pure athleticism, Coples may be the most talented player in this year’s draft class. But his production on the field rarely showed that ability, especially during his senior year. Teams will be interested to hear his explanation for his disappearing act. Does he take responsibility for his failures? Or does he blame it on others?

5. Vontaze Burfict – LB – Arizona State
Like Coples, Burfict clearly has the raw talent to play at the next level. However, he consistently found himself struggling to handle the mental side of the game. Burfict should be prepared for some difficult questions during the interview process. Teams may try to rile him up to see just how he reacts under pressure. Teams will also be interested to hear him explain away his numerous unsportsmanlike conduct penalties over the  years, and will be hoping to hear him take responsibility for his actions.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Rob Ryan wants Cowboys to upgrade secondary

It’s no secret that the Dallas Cowboys need to upgrade their secondary, and Rob Ryan wholeheartedly agrees.

Alex Dunlap of the Austin Chronicle caught up with Ryan at the Senior Bowl, and asked the Cowboys defensive coordinator who he was focused on: “I’m only looking at DBs. Nothing else. DBs.”

Dunlap went on to say that Ryan has a particular interest in Leonard Johnson, a cornerback from Iowa State who could be an option in the 2nd or 3rd round.

It’s tough to say just how much say Ryan has in the Cowboys draft plans, but if he’s this blunt about their needs to the media, it’s safe to assume he’s going to be hounding Jerry Jones over the next few months about the issue.

The problem the Cowboys have, however, is that they may be stuck in no-mans land in the 1st round if they hope to address their secondary at that point. Dre Kirkpatrick [scouting report] would be an obvious target, but could be off the board by pick No. 14. There are a number of potential late 1st-round cornerback prospects, but anyone other than Kirkpatrick or Morris Claiborne would be a significant reach unless the Cowboys were to trade back.

There is one other name to keep on eye on, however: Janoris Jenkins [scouting report]. Based purely on talent, Jenkins is a top-15 prosect and would be a great fit in Dallas’ secondary. But most teams will drop him, or completely remove him, from their draft boards due to character issues.

Jerry Jones has shown a willingness to consider troubled-but-talented prospects in the past. He recently drafted Dez Bryant in the 1st round, when many others had dismissed him for off-field issues. And he’s made similar moves in free agency (Pacman Jones, Terrell Owens, etc).

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Cowboys 3 Comments

All-Overrated “Team”

Here is my pre-Senior Bowl all-overrated “team.” It’s not exactly a full team because certain positions don’t have a truly overrated prospect… yet. Depending on the media’s reaction to the Senior Bowl and/or Combine, players could drop off the list, or earn their way onto the roster in the coming months.

QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M
Every year a quarterback or two see their stock inflated due to team needs. Tannehill is this year’s victim.
RB LaMichael James Oregon
James is an impressive athlete with speed to burn, but he isn’t an every-down back.
RB Chris Rainey Florida
Much like James, Rainey is heralded for his speed, but he will be limited to special teams duty in the NFL.
WR Alshon Jeffery South Carolina
There’s no denying Jeffery’s raw ability, but his inconsistency raises a big red flag.
WR Nick Toon Wisconsin
Toon was a productive college receiver who benefitted from Russell Wilson’s prescence in 2011. He’s a 3rd or 4th option in the NFL at best.
TE Coby Fleener Stanford
Fleener is my top rated tight end, but that’s exactly why he’s being overrated. He’s just the best of a mediocre class.
OT Jonathan Martin Stanford
Martin will be a fine pro, but not at left tackle. Anyone who falls for the hype will be moving him to the right side, or to guard, within three years.
OT Mike Adams Ohio State
Adams certainly looks the part, but he’s terribly soft and not especially quickon his feet.
DE Quinton Coples North Carolina
You can put together a highlight real that makes Coples look like a top-five pick… but you can’t find a single game where he shows it from start to finish.
DE Jack Crawford Penn State
Crawford never lived up to expectations at Penn State despite his impressive athleticism.
DT Alameda Ta’amu Washington
Ta’amu has the size to play nose tackle, which boosts his stock significantly, but he may not have the stamina to be a three-down lineman.
LB Zach Brown North Carolina
Brown is an athlete, but he’s undersized and will get pushed around by NFL linemen.
LB Bruce Irvin West Virginia
Irvin flashes elite athleticism at times, but he had to fight for playing time throughout his career due to inconsistent performances.
LB Vontaze Burfict Arizona State
Top-10 talent, undraftable character. Not worth the trouble.
CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama
See above.
CB Alfonzo Dennard Nebraska
I have a hard time understanding where the 1st-round love for Dennard comes from. He’s a physical corner and his injury prone – a bad combo.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Janoris Jenkins scouting report

Janoris Jenkins CB North Alabama #1
Ht: 5’10″

Wt: 182

Impressive athlete. Has the speed to stick with any receiver. Elite quickness and change-of-direction ability – has true “cover corner” skills. Gives a solid effort in run support; decent tackler for his size. Not afraid to match up against bigger receivers, and will occasionally step up and try to jam them at the line of scrimmage. Looks comfortable in zone coverage; does a nice job staying in his zone, while keeping his eyes on the quarterback. Occasionally used on corner blitzes while at Florida. A pesky cornerback; gets in receivers faces, lots of unnecessary shoving after it’s clear the play isn’t going his direction – so long as he keeps it under control, this is an asset. Played through a shoulder injury in 2010. Playmaker on special teams; one of top return specialists in this year’s class. Plenty of experience against top competition (37 starts at Florida).
Significant character issues. Arrested in 2009 for his role in a fight. Arrested twice in 2010 for marijuana possession (in a span of four months). Kicked off team (at Florida) after most recent arrest and enrolled at North Alabama. Ejected from a game in 2011 for throwing a punch. Slightly undersized; can get pushed around by some bigger receivers. Impulsive on the field; can play solid fundamental football at times, but takes too many big risks. Tackling technique could improve, but the effort is there. Easily blocked by most receivers in the run game. Missed 2010 bowl game with shoulder injury.
In terms of raw talent, Jenkins is a legitimate 1st-round pick, and could even be viewed as a potential top-10 prospect. However, his off-field issues severely limit his draft stock, and he will likely be removed from many draft boards. Given his long list of transgressions, which continued to an extent at North Alabama, spending a 1st-round pick on Jenkins would be a huge risk. That said, his character concerns are not significantly worse than Jimmy Smith, who was selected in the 1st round by the Ravens in 2011. He’s the type of prospect that bad teams should steer clear of, but he may be worth the risk to a contender.
2010 vs Georgia, Alabama (A.J. Green, Julio Jones)
2011 highlights (North Alabama) 
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off

NFL Draft Stock Watch

Janoris Jenkins – CB – Florida
Jenkins had one of his more difficult tasks this weekend when lined up against LSU’s Terrence Toliver. With a four to five inch height advantage, Toliver beat Jenkins easily on a number of plays. But perhaps the most telling moment of the game came on LSU’s final play when Florida had Jeremy Brown – not Jenkins – was lined up against Toliver, who scored the winning touchdown. I currently have Jenkins in the 1st round of my mock draft, but I’m starting to think he lacks the ability to match up against more physical receivers, making him a better 2nd or 3rd round pick.

Leonard Hankerson – WR – Miami FL
Hankerson has the size and speed to be an elite receiver, but he is far too inconsistent. He routinely drops very catchable balls, and did so a number of times against Florida State on Saturday. He reminds me of Braylon Edwards – he’ll make one spectacular play, and follow it up with a ball that bounces off his hands. At this level drops are caused by nothing more than a lack of focus, and if a player can’t focus in college I don’t trust his ability to focus when he’s earning million of dollars in the NFL.

DeMarcus Love – OT – Arkansas
I continue to waver on who I think is the top tackle in this year’s class, which is probably evidence that this is a very weak class. The more I watch Love, the more he reminds me of Alex Barron. He has elite athleticism and can block anyone when he’s focused. However, he’s caught out of position far too often and gets called for too many penalties. Over the past three games, Love has been called for four penalties (three false starts and one holding). The false start penalties are actually most concerning because they speak to his lack of football intelligence and his focus on the field.

ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 03: A.J. Green #8 of the Georgia Bulldogs pulls in this touchdown reception against Chris Hawkins #29 of the Louisiana State University Tigers at Sanford Stadium on October 3, 2009 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It's safe to call Green a 1st-round lock

A.J. Green – WR – Florida
Green entered the season as my No. 1 wide receiver, but I thought it was a close call between him and Julio Jones. After watching Green’s performance this season, there is no longer any doubt. He is a truly elite prospect, on par with recent top picks such as Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson.

Da’Quan Bowers – DE – Clemson
Bowers came to Clemson as a highly touted recruit but failed to live up to expectations in his first two years. Now, as a junior, Bowers is starting to show why he was viewed as an elite talent in high school. He has already recorded six sacks, two more than his career total entering this season. He has established himself as a likely 1st-round pick if he chooses to leave school early.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off

Players to watch on Saturday

CHESTNUT HILL, MA - NOVEMBER 29:  Mark Herzlich #94 of the Boston College Eagles tries to get the crowd going in the third quarter against the Maryland Terrapins on November 29, 2008 at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Boston College defeated Maryland 28-21.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Mark Herzlich has a tough task, facing N.C. State's Russell Wilson today

The most intriguing player to watch this weekend is Boston College’s Mark Herzlich. One of the biggest questions I have about Herzlich is his athleticism. He’s facing N.C. State’s Russell Wilson today, possibly the most athletic quarterback in the ACC. It will be interesting to see how he fares.

I’m also excited to see Indiana quarterback Ben Chappell against Ohio State. Chappell is having an impressive season despite not having much talent around him, but Ohio State will be his toughest test of the season. He’ll be under pressure consistently, and how he holds up will go a long way towards determining his draft stock.

Christian Ponder is another quarterback to watch today. He won’t get tested often in the ACC this year, and facing Miami on the road will be one of his toughest tests. Miami has a talented secondary which could give Ponder trouble.

Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins is another defense player to keep an eye on. Jenkins is Florida’s top cornerback, but LSU’s top receiver Terrence Toliver is five inches taller and far more physical than Jenkins. It will be interesting to see if the Gators assign Jenkins to Toliver. If they don’t, it will be a telling sign about how the coaching staff feels about his ability to face true No. 1 receivers. Jenkins lack of physical play is the biggest knock against him.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2011 NFL Draft Comments Off