2012 NFL Draft: 5 Best Fits for Janoris Jenkins

Mike ShiekmanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 29, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: 5 Best Fits for Janoris Jenkins

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    Fresh off a fantastic workout at the NFL Combine, a handful of NFL teams are intrigued at Janoris Jenkins playing for their defense in 2012. 

    Despite Jenkins’s spectacular skill set, questions of his off-the-field activities have reportedly erased his name from several draft boards for the first round. 

    A former BCS National Champion and Freshman All-American at the University of Florida, Jenkins ran into trouble with the law three times in Gainesville, including multiple charges for marijuana.

    He still has a strong chance to be selected in the first round, though, due to his polished resume as a Gator and his clean sheet of good behavior during his senior stint North Alabama.

    At the combine, Jenkins responded to the chatter about his off-the-field misconduct:

    "I was honest, straightforward," Jenkins. "Told them I did it. I admitted to everything. I take full responsibility. I learned from it. It made me a stronger person. How to separate myself from certain guys, certain people. In order to be successful at the next level, I can’t do the things that I used to do.’’

    One team will dismiss the off-the-field concerns and draft Jenkins. They will be smart for doing so. Here are the five best situations for the talented cornerback.

New England Patriots

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    Bill Belichick loves his defensive backs. Jenkins would be his fourth cornerback selection in the first two rounds the last three years. He may end up being the most talented of the bunch.

    If you think any organization can mask character issues, it’s the New England Patriots. The Patriot Way has had its effect on a number of talents to come through Foxboro. Randy Moss, Chad Ochocinco and Corey Dillon are a few that come to mind. 

    Jenkins walked into a winning situation at the University of Florida his freshman year and was able to thrive on a star-studded defense en route to a BCS National Championship. Seeing Tom Brady leading the offense to points at regularity will do wonders for Jenkins as a professional.

San Francisco 49ers

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    Similar to the winning situation in New England, Janoris Jenkins would be motivated by playing with a stellar defensive unit in San Francisco.

    In addition, 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh preaches toughness and a no-nonsense mantra. Playing alongside defensive stalwarts like Patrick Willis and Justin Smith, Jenkins would embrace the 49ers philosophy and provide a hard-nosed, physical presence in the defensive backfield.

    If the 49ers fail to re-sign Carlos Rogers, they will have a gaping hole in their secondary. Luckily they have the personnel and the coaching staff to mold Jenkins into a shutdown corner.

Detroit Lions

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    The Detroit Lions were one of the surprise teams in the last year’s playoffs. In order to build on that success in 2012, they’ll need to bolster their defensive backfield in the draft.

    Offensively the Lions were a threat to score every time they took the field. Unfortunately, opposing offenses could do the same to their defense. Being unable to get Drew Brees off the field ended their 2011 season earlier than they had hoped.

    Adding Janoris Jenkins would go a long way to help a defense that gave up the third most touchdowns of all playoff teams last season. Jenkins will be energized playing for Jim Schwartz’s aggressive unit led by Ndamukong Suh.

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Cincinnati has two draft picks in the upcoming draft (No. 17 and 21) and Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer has indicated that they are examining the this year’s secondary prospects closely.

    With a couple cornerbacks becoming unrestricted free agents, the Bengals have only three experienced corners under contract, the most notable being a 32-year-old Nate Clements. 

    After a stellar workout at the NFL Combine, Jenkins may be the answer for the Cincinnati backfield. However, there may be distaste for this selection because the Bengals have seen players with questionable character fail in Cincinnati.

    It will be interesting to see if the Bengals pull the trigger on a boom-or-bust selection like Jenkins. Young talent is blooming in Cincinnati with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, but a few problem players could turn that potential upside down.

Dallas Cowboys

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    After Terrence Newman’s uninspiring performance in the Cowboys’ season finale, it would be smart for Dallas to take a hard look at Janoris Jenkins with their No. 14 selection.

    Had they knocked down a few passes from Eli Manning in the last game of the season, the Dallas Cowboys would have been playoff bound.

    Seeing how the NFL postseason turned out, the Cowboys' Super Bowl chances would have been as good as any.

    Jenkins has all the tools to be a cornerback who could go toe to toe with the likes of Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and DeSean Jackson in the NFC East. Jerry Jones has never had a problem choosing talent over character to make his team better (see Terrell Owens, Adam Jones).

    This selection is based on need only. I don’t believe Dallas is the best situation for Jenkins due to the media circus created by Jerry Jones and Rob Ryan. Also, there seems to be a lack of commitment in the Cowboy defensive backfield that could plague Jenkins’ development.