2012 NFL Draft: Why Janoris Jenkins Deserves a Chance to Play

Dave Gilbert@@davegilbertnflContributor IIIApril 13, 2012

Janoris Jenkins has been Tasered. And that's all there is to take into account for a lot of people analyzing the former Florida Gator star. He was kicked off the Florida team last April for multiple marijuana-related arrests and ended up playing his final year with North Alabama in Division II. 

Reports have recently surfaced that Jenkins continued to smoke marijuana whilst at North Alabama, further adding weight to the opinion that his off-the-field antics stand to overshadow his exploits on the field.

Yet there is no doubting his ability on the football field. Widely touted as one of the best cornerbacks in this year's draft, Jenkins has all the skills necessary to make an immediate impact for any team that decides to take a chance on him.

It is certainly not ideal to cloud people's judgment with your extracurricular activities, but is he really a bad person? Okay, so he smokes marijuana. There are probably a lot of college and NFL players that do the same, with the only difference being that Jenkins has been arrested for it. 

Yes, he was Tasered by police during his involvement in a fight. But that was back in 2009. By his own admission, he has learned from these incidents and is doing his best to put them behind him.

Other people cite his main problem being the fact that—although only in his early 20s—he is already the father of four children by three different women. Exactly what that demonstrates is beyond me, but it is something that seems to matter to some people.

You know what I think? People need to stop focusing on any mistakes he has made in the past, and start realizing that Jenkins has an excellent chance to be an elite player in the NFL.

I have watched tape of him at Florida and highlights of his time at North Alabama, and I am impressed. He is equally adept when playing both man and zone coverage, and he has quick hips and can turn on a dime. He is underrated as a tackler and has the ability to stuff opposing running backs once he has them in his sights. 

Some feel he is slightly undersized, but that hasn't seemed to affect his play too much. During his time at Florida, he effectively covered the likes of A.J. Green and Julio Jones, who have both gone on to successful NFL careers. So, Jenkins has the experience to play against very good wide receivers. 

One of Jenkins' biggest attributes has to be his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. Once he intercepts a pass or picks up a fumble, he has one thought in mind—making it to the end zone. He is an elusive runner, able to break tackles with ease.

And this is all without mentioning his skills in the return department. Again, with the ball in his hands, he can quickly gain a lot of yards, putting his team in great field position. He averaged 21.7 yards per punt return during his time at North Alabama, as well as three returns for a touchdown.

He plays as if he has a score to settle with the world. And although this might find him in hot water at times (he was ejected from one game for throwing a punch), it is the type of passion that is appealing to many defensive coaches.

I think it's fair to say that Jenkins is a man who has made some mistakes. And he has been honest enough to admit those mistakes. Perhaps this might be to his detriment, but I think it shows a maturity that points to his ability to recognize where he went wrong and learn from it.

Will the bright lights of the NFL present too much of a temptation for Jenkins? We can't say for sure. But we can say that he is one of the best players in this year's draft, and he deserves the opportunity to show the league what type of player he is. Both on the field and off it.

Watch a highlight video of Jenkins here.