Heading into the 2012 NFL draft, the New England Patriots still have a variety of needs on both sides of the ball despite spending an offseason signing offensive players left and right. One area of concern that really troubled New England in 2011 is the cornerback position—and the team has yet to address it.
With the first round of the draft set to kick off on Thursday, April 26, the Patriots have two picks in the first round, No. 27 and No. 31, and I would highly recommend Bill Belichick and New England's draft team to take a look at North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Jenkins is an extremely athletic cornerback that can cover just about any receiver at the NFL level. He plays with quick feet that allows him to keep up with even the "speedster" wide receivers at the snap of the ball. One thing that really jumps out at you is Jenkins' impressive ability to tackle players in open space—which is something that many NFL cornerbacks struggle with.
As for ball skills, Jenkins is one of the best that the 2012 draft class has to offer. Jenkins is certainly a playmaker with a real ability to go up and get the football in not only jump ball situations but anytime the ball is thrown his way.
Another plus with Jenkins' game, which something that Belichick will certainly value, is that he can play special teams as a gunner or even a return man.
If we ignore the very real off-the-field issues with Jenkins, he doesn't have any real weaknesses in his game on the football field. I suppose you can make a case that he's a bit undersized as he stands in at 5'10", but that's really stretching it as if he were an inch taller, we wouldn't really be having this discussion.
Aside from being arrested in 2009 after he resisted arrest after punching a man as well as being arrested for possession of marijuana in 2011, which ultimately led his to dismissal from the Florida Gators football team, Jenkins has no real weaknesses.
Jenkins is a perfect fit for the Patriots.
Jenkins' character issues will certainly cause his stock to fall a little bit and could even fall right into the laps of the New England Patriots.
If Jenkins is sitting there available at No. 27 for the Patriots, there's no doubt in my mind that if I were Belichick, I would pull the trigger and make Jenkins New England's newest cornerback.
Be sure to check out Tony Santorsa's blog: PatriotsPlus.