+Has experience as a 3-4 nose tackle
+Pretty good pass rusher
+Decent athlete for size
-Horrible strength for a 350lbs nose tackle
-Doesn’t use his hands well
-Can’t make tackles in traffic
If Georgia nose tackle John Jenkins gets first round consideration in the 2013 draft, he will easily be the most overrated player of the 2013 draft. This guy brings absolutely nothing to the table. Very often, I believe scouts overvalue size when looking at nose tackles. Size is important, but you have to ask yourself if the guy is full of muscle or has size because he just like to eat. John Jenkins is fat.
For the sake of comparison, let’s take a look at Tennessee nose tackle Daniel McCullers, who is 6’6, 377lbs, and does not seem out of shape. Or how about Dontari Poe (shown below), who stole the show (no rhyme intended) at the 2012 NFL combine. He showed up at the combine at 346lbs (and had an amazing workout), making him 10lbs lighter than Jenkins. The picture of Poe shows that a person can actually be 346lbs and be in good shape. John Jenkins is not in good shape. And that fact is always evinced by his film.
Jenkins has poor stats. In 2011, he played 14 games and got 28 tackles. C’mon, John. That’s depressing. 28 tackles in 14 games? That’s bad, even for a nose tackle (their lack of stamina usually means bad stats). He’s gotten off to a better start in 2012, but he still only has 1 TFL through 6 games. That’s sad for a potential first round pick. Jenkins’s stats are bad.
I think Jenkins is a brick wall against the run. But that’s not a good thing. Tell me, do brick walls move? Do they attack people? If a ball carrier runs next to a brick wall, can a brick wall stick out it’s arm and make a tackle? If you answered no to all of these questions, then you understand why I believe Jenkins is terrible against the run. Jenkins is an incredible combination of unbelievable size and an ineptitude against the run. It’s pretty rare to find such a combination (I can only think of B.J. Raji, the most overrated player in the NFL. And I was raised a Packer fan). The saddest thing with Jenkins is that he can’t make arm tackles, which gives him no hope. If you are going to be a 350lbs nose tackle whose job is to stuff the run from the inside, you better be pretty darn good at making arm tackles. The ability to make tackles while being blocked is absolutely essential for a 3-4 nose tackle. A 3-4 nose tackle who can only tackle the ball carrier if he is either left unblocked or sheds his block is absolutely hopeless. It’s impossible to survive unless you can bring down the ball carrier with only one arm. Jenkins can’t. That’s scary. Not too mention, he has pathetic strength for his size, his quickness is mediocre, he isn’t great at getting good leverage, he struggles to disengage from blocks, and his instincts are just terrible.
Jenkins is a decent pass rusher for his size. He doesn’t use his hands well, but has decent flexibility and can get decent leverage on passing downs. He also has decent long speed, but his tight hips make it very difficult for him to tackle players in the open field. He is also too aggressive as a pass rusher, constantly finding himself out of positions on screens. Still, he is a decent pass rusher.
It is a positive that Jenkins already has experience as a 3-4 nose tackle, but, sadly for him, the job of the 3-4 nose tackle is to stuff the run and nothing else. Considering most of them lack stamina, teams feel comfortable subbing out nose tackles on passing downs, and leaving their only job to be snuffing out the run and occupying blocks. They don’t even need to be on the field on pass plays. Sadly, with Jenkins, he isn’t a great fit at nose tackle in the NFL, considering he’s close to an asset against the pass but a tremendous liability against the run. There’s no such thing as a nose tackle, or even a defensive tackle (other than maybe Geno Atkins) whose main role is as a pass rusher, because defensive tackles can’t create pressure as effectively as defensive ends. That being said, it’s all relative. Jenkins is a good pass rusher for a nose tackle, but that only means he’s good enough to get 2.5 sacks a year instead of 1. Who cares. Considering guys as big as Jenkins have no stamina, you want them to dominate the run but stay off the field against the pass. However, no one, not even Jenkins’ biggest supporters, can say he stuffs the run. Therefore, he is essentially useless as a 3-4 nose tackle.
Jenkins has terrible stamina. The same can be said for most nose tackles (even Poe), but Jenkins is worse than most. I can’t emphasize this enough; if you’re over 330lbs, it’s tough to stand up for more than 5 minutes consecutively, let alone play football for that period of time. That being said, Jenkins only sees the field for about 40-50% of Georgia’s defensive stats, which is bad, even for a nose tackle (that’s entering Terrence Cody territory). Plus, even with all the breathers he gets on the sideline, he still wears down as the game goes on.
Overall, I think Jenkins is a bad player. Every pound of weight on his body is fat. So forget about his “terrific size”. He’s useless, and probably the most overrated prospect of this draft.
NFL Comparison: B.J. Raji, the most overrated player in the NFL. Last year, he saw the ball for 885 snaps and made 22 tackles. That pretty much speaks for itself. Actually, Raji is more athletic than Jenkins as well
Grade: 55 (worthy of a mid-fifth round pick)
Projection: 91 (will be a late first round pick)