Secondary Help Early On for Jaguars

With needs all over the football field, there are several options that the Jaguars can choose, and this may be the first year in many that the best available player will represent an area of need. Find out about one of the players the Jags interviewed at the Combine and is high on their board.

The Jaguars will certainly have several interesting decisions facing them on the final weekend of April. The first will obviously be what to do with the eighth overall pick, to try and trade it, or if they decide to keep it, who will they select. Malcolm Jenkins may be that selection.

Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins made news at the Combine, more for his unimpressive 4.53 second 40-yard dash than anything else. Jenkins didn't hurt himself as much as Alabama offensive tackle Andre Smith, who went AWOL, but he may have cost himself some money with his lack of straight-line foot speed.

"I didn't run as fast as I wanted to, but I'm not a 4.3 guy," Jenkins said. "I'm not going to ‘fake the funk' and try to convince myself that I am. I'm usually in the 4.4 range, I didn't run as fast as I wanted to, but I don't think anyone really did. I'm going to run again in my Pro Day and see where it takes me."

Jenkins was asked about the potentially over-inflated importance of the NFL Combine.

"Not necessarily the combine, but the 40, I think so (that it's over-inflated)," Jenkins said. "If you have a guy who can make plays on film and you have him rated high, and he doesn't run as well as expected in the 40, I don't think his draft status should change. At the end of the day, it's the process that we go through and it's what we have to live with."

At 6'0", 200 lbs., Jenkins is a bigger, physical type of player, and his slow 40-time has many wondering whether he projects on the next level as a corner or safety, which can certainly affect his draft slot.

"I think what I'm more comfortable with, my preference is at corner, because I think I know it better," Jenkins said. "I don't mind playing safety at all, I played it my junior year. But I'm definitely more comfortable at corner. I just want to play football, whatever position that takes me so be it."

Marcus Hartman, publisher of Buckeye covered Jenkins throughout his entire career at Ohio State and was nice enough to weigh in with a scouting report—

Jenkins has good size, speed and strength. He likes to hit and has become a pretty good tackler. He first broke into the lineup as a freshman and has really had a great career. He's physical enough to play safety and did that some in 2007. He's also been a big contributor on special teams and has a knack for making plays in the backfield. He blocked two punts last season.

Because Ohio State plays more zone than man defense, he might need some work being on an island, but I think he would be fine in a mostly man scheme.

He's very confident and was the team's biggest emotional leader for at least the past two seasons. Even as a sophomore he was mentioned by older guys as someone players looked up to.

Will Jenkins be able to adjust to the "five-yard rule" in the NFL like most physical rookies struggle with? That is a big question. Still, Jenkins sees his size and physical style of play as a benefit to an aspiring employer.

"I think from day one, me being a bigger corner, I can be a physical presence out there on the edge," Jenkins said. "I can come up and make tackles."

Although Jenkins is confident, he's not cocky as he is aware that there is plenty that he must work on.

"I always want to work on my technique and knowledge of the game," Jenkins said when asked about his potential weaknesses. "One thing for me, I just want to come in and learn everything I can, I want to come in and play, and I need to play at the same level as veterans in the league."

When asked if there's an NFL corner that he patterns his game around, Jenkins was quick to show his that he's a bit of a homer.

"Antoine Winfield, I'm a little biased, he's from Ohio State and I love the way he plays."

Although Malcolm Jenkins hurt his draft stock a bit at the Combine with his slow 40-time, he will have an opportunity to raise it back up over the next month and a half with a solid Pro Day workout. Jenkins was able to be a shut-down corner while in college and projected by some to be a top-five pick prior to his trip to Indianapolis. If he does indeed drop, the Jaguars or some other team could get a very good player at a great value.

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