Georgia outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins is getting rave reviews out of Athens, Ga., but when the season gets underway, the rest of the SEC will be made aware of the player who could be a better player than Jarvis Jones.
To be compared to Jones is high praise considering he’s only played one season, but that freshman season was special as he produced 31 tackles, eight for loss and five sacks in limited duty. In his two All-American years with the Bulldogs, Jones produced 28 sacks playing the vital role of the rush linebacker in Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense — a spot Jenkins currently occupies.
Jones put up crazy stats and led the nation in sacks, tackles for loss and forced fumbles as a senior en route to winning the SEC Defensive Player of the Year away, and a 10th-place finish in the Heisman voting. So how can Jenkins top the impact and production of Jones?
Jenkins is a much smoother athlete than Jones was, as being a former standout basketball player at Harris County high school developed his lateral quickness, reactionary speed and leaping ability. As great as Jones was, no one would confuse him for a fluid athlete, and that was a partial reason in him dropping in the NFL draft to No. 17.
Jones was the epitome of a football player with unbelievable first-step quickness and closing speed, but he is not the natural athlete Jenkins is.
Jenkins really is the total package and the ideal prototype you look for in a 3-4 outside linebacker. He was the No. 5 ranked weak-side defensive end out of high school when John Lilly stole him from Alabama and Florida. He’s 6-foot-3, 250 pounds and runs in the 4.5 range compared to Jones, who was 6-foot-2, 245-pounds and ran a 4.9 as a finished college product. He has limitless potential and can be as good as he wants to be.
Learning from one of the best in Jones for a season will aid his development, but when Jenkins leaves Georgia for the NFL, I’m willing to bet that he’ll get drafted higher than Jones.
Jones was one of the best, but Jenkins can be even better.