2012 NFL Draft: Should Dallas Cowboys Still Take Janoris Jenkins Despite Drop?

Tom FirmeAnalyst IIApril 16, 2012

GAINESVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Janoris Jenkins #1 of the Florida Gators gets the crowd up during a game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys seemed in previous months to be in line to pick Janoris Jenkins in the first round of the draft. Jenkins impressed in the Senior Bowl, not only showing great speed, but also ability in forms of coverage he hadn't played much. Jenkins' criminal record was a concern before, but recent revelations have caused his stock to drop considerably.

To many, Jenkins' record heading into draft season figured to be enough of a concern for teams to stay away from him. He was arrested in 2009 for his involvement in a fight and resisting arrest in the fracas. In 2011, he was arrested twice in a three-month span for marijuana possession, persuading new Florida coach Will Muschamp to kick him off the team.

Then, Jenkins bolted to North Alabama. He was thought to be just fine at North Alabama. He had a nice season, earning Second-Team Division-II All-American honors. He didn't have any run-ins with the law.

After that, some might have thought that he had atoned for his sins.


New concerns making Jenkins Day 2 cornerback

However, new revelations have forced him to drop down the boards. According to NFLDraftScout.com (via CBSSports.com), Jenkins "kept up the partying" while at North Alabama. Also, he used drugs while at North Alabama.

NFL.com reported that he had four children with three women.

The Cowboys might be a bit upset after seeing that Jenkins hadn't truly turned things around after his dismissal from Florida. He might not have been arrested, but he didn't stay clean while at North Alabama.

Jenkins told CBSSports.com, "I was honest, straightforward, told 'em I did it. I admitted everything, I take full responsibility and I learned from it."

He also said, "I'm done with (marijuana) forever, I can't do it."

Some may wonder if he's really done with it. Many might have wondered if he was done with it after being dismissed at Florida. Now, people might look at that statement and say he can't possibly be done with it with the recent news.

An altruistic person might allow possibility that he might now be done with marijuana, perhaps having quit after leaving North Alabama. However, most people aren't that trusting.

His having begotten four children may be an issue to some, but not to others. Look at the fact that a number of NBA players have more children than he does.

The issues may tell some teams not to draft him, although the Cowboys, often not dissuaded by character issues, could still go for him if he's still available in the second round. That's where Pro Football Weekly now has him, and CBSSports.com now projects him to the first or second round, rather than a solid first-round pick.


Jenkins' talent could still make him an attractive prospect

Despite all of Jenkins' off-field incidents, he could still be a good pick due to his great talent. He's fast, having run a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He flashes solid short-range quickness and has great closing speed.

Jenkins is a good cover cornerback. Despite his small stature, he is good at jamming receivers at the line. He stays in step with receivers. His ball skills are tremendous, as is his timing. His tackling skills aren't great, but he's better than average at making tackles in the open field.

Also, Jenkins is good at reading the quarterback and the running game.

The Cowboys will surely be looking for cornerback help in the draft. They let Terence Newman go and signed Brandon Carr. Still, they'll have to add a starting-quality cornerback in the draft. Jenkins could be that guy.

The Cowboys could get a starter at another position in the first round, and then draft Jenkins in the second round, assuming he's still around.


Conclusion: Jerry Jones should still have his eye on Jenkins

Jones has taken his share of players with character issues under his wing. Dez Bryant is the most recent example.

Thus, drafting Jenkins likely wouldn't be a big deal for Jones. He surely recognizes the amazing talent that Jenkins possesses. Jones probably isn't fazed by the recent off-field news.

Depending on who the Cowboys get in the first round, they could address two major concerns by getting a difference-maker in the first round and Jenkins in the second round.