Cornerback’s are sometimes difficult to judge in college football. Take Prince Amukamara for example – ranked as the top senior going into the 2010 season. He’s barely been tested all year as opposition coaches scheme away from the highly rated corner. When he was challenged – by Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon – he struggled a little bit. Rusty or warning signs? He has no picks this year which emphasises how little he’s been targeted. He had five in 2009.
Other cornerbacks are easier to judge. Janoris Jenkins didn’t come into the year with Amukamara’s reputation, so he isn’t been avoided. Jenkins has lined up against three NFL calibre receivers: Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Alshon Jeffery. All three may eventually be top-15 picks.
Julio Jones vs Florida: 4 catches 19 yards
A.J. Green vs Florida: 4 catches 42 yards
Alshon Jeffery vs Florida: 6 catches 53 yards
The numbers listed above are each individuals single-game lowest in 2010. Coincidence that all have been shadowed by Jenkins? Absolutely not.
I’ve watched all three games. Jenkins systematically took Jones out of the Alabama game. He handled Green – something nobody else has managed in CFB this year. Jeffery had a frustrating night and his most competitive duel this season so far.
People have spoken openly about Patrick Peterson and Amukamara – but it’s time to discuss the huge talent Jenkins has. In coverage, he might be the best available next year. Great hips, fluid backpedal and flawless balance. Jenkins does a great job tracking the ball and putting himself in position to make a play. He’s got enough speed to stick deep and against Jeffery he showed major improvements with his open field tackling and ability to disengage blocks.
He’s 5’11” and about 190lbs, which is standard size really. However, that just further flashes his ability when he’s coming up against the three wide who all stand above 6’4″ with considerable weight advantages. He’ll come up against bigger guys at the next level too – guys who might actually not be as talented as Jones, Green and Jeffery.
He’s also a special teams threat on kick returns – and is more than capable of turning a pick into six points.
When coaches and scouts sit down and look at his CV – they’ll see the competition Jenkins has come up against and performed brilliantly against. There are a few background checks to make – he was arrested last year, tasered and charged with misdemeanous affray and resisting arrest without violence. This does appear to be an isolated incident though after a fight broke out.
Based on the tape he’s a top-10 talent in my opinion and potentially the second cornerback off the board next April.