A.J. Jenkins: 5 Reasons Why NFL Draft Prospect Will Succeed in the Pros

Vincent Frank@VincentFrankNFLCorrespondent IApril 22, 2012

A.J. Jenkins: 5 Reasons Why NFL Draft Prospect Will Succeed in the Pros

0 of 5

    It might surprise some people where A.J. Jenkins goes on Saturday. He isn't going in the first or second round, but might end up at the top of the third round.

    There are a variety of different reasons for this.

    First, teams rarely ignore talent as it stares them in the face. Second, Jenkins has that talent. Pretty clear-cut talent in terms of speed and athleticism.

    This article is going to focus on five reasons why the former Illini standout is going to be a good wide receiver in the National Football League.


1 of 5

    A.J. Jenkins possesses great straight-line speed as evidenced by the 4.39 40-yard dash that he ran at the combine in Indianapolis.

    He is a threat to take it to the house, as you will see with in the embedded video. Where Jenkins might excel at the next level is running bubble screens and short outs in his direction because of this speed.

    He can take a 3-yard pass and turn it into a 40-yard gain. It is the yards after the catch (YAC) that Jerry Rice popularized in the 1980's.

Excellent Route Runner

2 of 5

    While not asked to run a myriad of different routes in Illinois' less-than-complex offensive scheme, the routes that A.J. Jenkins ran were tight and smooth.

    He doesn't struggle changing direction at mid-route and possesses excellent control midstream. This enables Jenkins to beat the defender down the field and gives the quarterback a clear lane to throw the ball to.

    This is one of the reasons that I think Jenkins will go much higher than most people anticipate. His transition to the NFL should be somewhat seamless, enabling him to make an instant impact as a rookie.


3 of 5

    A.J. Jenkins catches the ball away from his body, which makes him one of the few wide receiver prospects that got the memo that might have read, "Hey, this is the way the do it in the National Football League, might want to take notice."

    This means that Jenkins isn't going to drop balls that are thrown in his direction, usually coming down with it instead.

    Overall, Jenkins possesses some really soft hands and should be a reliable target for whatever team drafts him next weekend.

On-Field Intelligence

4 of 5

    A.J. Jenkins does the small things that might not show up on tape, but are extremely important nonetheless.

    He will do a great job creating separation by using his average build to his benefit. This means that Jenkins plays much bigger than his 6'0" frame would suggest.

    The talented wide receiver also uses the sidelines to his benefit. He will disengage defenders at the point of contact, using his body as another offensive weapon separating the cornerback from the ball. He also fully understands that the sideline can be his friend.

    Jenkins should make a living on the outside in the NFL, as he is definitely more useful there than in the slot.

Pure Game-Breaker

5 of 5

    A.J Jenkins is a threat to take it the distance every time he touches the ball. This is a rare quality among wide receiver prospects in the 2012 NFL draft. It also is a primary reason why I believe Jenkins will go higher than most "experts" suggest.

    His sub 4.40 40-yard speed translates well to the football field in a straight-line manner. He can run go routes all day long, usually creating separation down the field.

    This is where Jenkins is going to earn his keep as a rookie in the National Football League. You are looking at someone that should be in the 18.0 yards per reception category right out the gate.

    That opens up an offense immediately.