The New Orleans Saints made it clear that they would be targeting a defensive tackle in the 2013 NFL Draft. Well, Sean Payton and company did just that by selecting John Jenkins in the third round as the No. 82 overall pick last year.
Jenkins played his college ball at Georgia after two years at Gulf Cost Community College in Mississippi. As a sophomore at GCCC, he recorded 41 tackles and two sacks before being engaged by UGA head coach Mark Richt. The four-star recruit passed Auburn, Miami and other schools to join the Bulldogs in Athens, Ga.
During his two years in the SEC, Jenkins amassed 78 total tackles (eight for loss), four sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. He had a hand in their SEC East championship his first year and earned Second-Team All-SEC honors as a senior in 2012.
As a rookie with the Saints, he started in five games, totaling 21 tackles as relief to Brodrick Bunkley, whose recent struggles may give Jenkins a shot at the starting nose tackle job in 2014. Jenkins had surgery on a torn pectoral muscle in June but is expected to be a full participant at training camp. If he can bounce back from the injury with a strong performance later this month, Bunkley’s job may be endangered. Rookie Moses McCray of Akron is the last of the three nose tackles listed on the depth chart, but he’s no threat at the moment.
At 6-foot-3 and 359 pounds, Jenkins brings superb stature to his position. He’s quick for his size, strong and plays with some serious intensity. He adds a nice plug up the middle for stopping the run, but may offer little as an interior pass rusher in Rob Ryan‘s 3-4 defense. Overall, he has the ability to develop into a solid nose tackle in the NFL. Keep an eye on his recovery process, but if all goes as planned at camp, we could see him getting after opposing offenses as a starter as soon as Week 1.