KELLY JENNINGS: THE IN-DEPTH REPORT
By Kyle Rota
Overview: Jennings is purely a cover-corner. However, he did that very well in 2005, often removing the receiver from the game in the same way Walter Jones removes a defensive end from a game. He completely shut down his receiver three times (games) in 2004, not allowing a single reception. He was equally spectacular in 2005, keeping his man from catching a pass in four contests this year, along with three interceptions.
Against the Pass: This is Jennings' area to shine. He has the speed to run with just about anyone. Tired of watching Seattle cornerbacks cover their receiver perfectly, until the ball is in the air? No worries about that with Jennings, who has excellent ball-skills and knows how to use his hands in coverage to break up the play. Jennings also won't lose out on many jump balls, as the timing on his leaps are excellent. While he looks like a natural in man coverage, when he is left alone in deep zone he appears tentative and is late to react.
Against the Run: I'm trying to think of a nice way to say this... Jennings is not elite in run support. It doesn't help that every running back is at least thirty pounds heavier than him, but even if he were typical cornerback size he would have troubles against the run. He doesn't like sticking his head in against running backs and while his tackling technique is adequate, he isn't going to land many big hits.
Roster Impact in Seattle: Jennings is an excellent fit in Seattle in some areas and lacking in some others. He fills a need at cornerback, and provides depth due to experience at right, left, and nickel corner. However, Seattle asks for its cornerbacks to be more physical in run support than Jennings has so far in his career. This will be his challenge at the next level.
Final Analysis: Going into the draft, it was obvious that Seattle had a hole at cornerback. Kelly Jennings doesn't bring the ability against the run that Marcus Trufant and Kelly Herndon have, but he is smoother in pass coverage and has the speed, technique, and ball-skills to prevent passes and has a very realistic chance of entering the opening game as the starter.