2012 San Francisco 49ers Mock Draft: Janoris Jenkins Deserves a First-Round Pick
And, carrying it further: will it be a pass-catching weapon in Stanford’s Coby Fleener or Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill?
Will the selection yield a stud offensive lineman, such as Wisconsin’s Peter Konz or Kevin Zeitler?
Or will the 49ers GM Trent Baalke surprise us with a defensive selection with the likes of controversial cornerback, Janoris Jenkins? Or if certain D-linemen were to fall to No. 30, how about USC’s Nick Perry or Michigan State’s Jerel Worthy?
We love entertaining these mock-draft hypothetical scenarios simply because they are so damn fun and nearly impossible to ascertain.
However, most people with general knowledge of the NFL Draft, myself included, can reasonably argue that Fleener, Hill, Konz, Perry and Worthy will all be long gone before the 49ers select at pick No. 30.
Moreover, I’ve demonstrated on numerous occasions that Zeitler grades out as a second-, not first-round prospect despite being a very accomplished guard at the collegiate level and who’ll undoubtedly start for an NFL franchise in the near future.
So, in keeping with the often-confounding, yet fruit-bearing tendencies of Trent Baalke—a la Aldon Smith with the 7th overall selection in 2011—let’s quickly review three reasons why Janoris Jenkins is worthy of the 49ers’ first-round pick.
Undeniable First-Round Talent
49er Fandom, please refrain from unleashing your furious wrath upon me for just a second.
Let me state the undeniable red flag concerning Jenkins, that being his much publicized history of drugs, violence, arrests and fathering an extensive progeny between multiple women, with the first three leading to his dismissal from the University of Florida’s football team.
Now that those facts have been made abundantly clear, let’s move on to the more pertinent fact regarding Janoris Jenkins: his well-documented first-round talent as a football player.
Proficient in both man- and zone-schemes. Elite anticipatory and reactionary skills. Balanced, fluid and explosive in coverage. Exceptional short-area quickness and closing speed. Great at locating the football and generating the pass-breakup or INT. Willing tackler.
He has short arms and can be overly aggressive at times, leaving him susceptible to the occasional deep ball, but both are negated by proper arm extension, an eye-popping burst and make-up speed.
Jenkins also could provide a legitimate backup to Ted Ginn on punt and kickoff returns.
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com said it best when he articulated that “based on natural talent alone, Jenkins is a top-12 pick with the fluid movement, ability and instincts to line up against No. 1 receivers in the NFL and win those matchups.”
Speaking of those pesky No. 1 receivers…
Matching Up Against Elite WRs
While Jenkins might not be as immediate a contributor as LSU’s Morris Claiborne, he’ll develop into a bona-fide lock-down corner in due time. It would be unfair to expect Darrelle Revis-like production in his first year anyways.
In the current NFL landscape featuring incredible quarterback-wide receiver tandems, no team can be without a set of savvy, game-changing CBs in their defensive repertoire. Looking at the 49ers’ 2012 schedule, one quickly understands the reality of the new NFL.
Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. Eli Manning to Victor Cruz. Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall. Drew Brees to Marques Colston. Tom Brady to Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd.
Jim Harbaugh’s squad already has the pass rush (though, I see them adding to that in later rounds of the draft). Now it’s time to fortify the secondary with a lock-down corner in the making in Janoris Jenkins.
With Carlos Rogers occupying the No. 1 role, Jenkins can come in and compete with Tarell Brown and Chris Culliver for somewhere below Rogers on the pecking order. I foresee Jenkins operating in the slot sooner rather than later and pushing Culliver to the No. 2 spot on the outside. Having Brown at third on the depth chart is certainly nothing to scoff at.
If Jenkins fulfills his immense potential, watch out for the next elite cover corner on the outside.
“However, a troubling history of issues could…present problems in the future if he does not enter an environment with a strong support structure and veteran locker room that can help keep him in line.”
I don’t know about you, Niner Nation, but the 49ers’ veteran presence, team camaraderie and no-nonsense coaching staff embody that “strong support structure” to a T.
Guys like Patrick Willis, one of the most caring and upstanding citizens despite being someone who’s been through hell and back; and Justin Smith, a legend of a man who expects and realizes the absolute best in everyone around him (see: Ray McDonald).
Oh, and while we are on the topic, let us not exclude Vernon Davis from this discussion, the player that evolved from petulant child to veteran leader. Hello, role models No. 1, 2 and 3.
Furthermore, Jim Harbaugh, Vic Fangio, Brad Seely and secondary coach Ed Donatell are all a blue-collar bunch that would hold Jenkins accountable from Day 1. If not, take your troubles elsewhere, pal.
The 49ers exude the team-first mentality as well as any other in the NFL. They would take Jenkins under their collective wing, and instill professionalism and honorable behavior to the highest degree.
I’m not saying that this Niners team is a perfect collection of saintly beings, or that Jenkins would automatically fall in line.
What I am saying is that Janoris Jenkins is high-risk, but even higher-reward, and very much worthy of the San Francisco 49ers first-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.
Now, please oblige me with your comments, both positive and negative (but not too inflammatory).
As always, thank you for reading and making Bleacher Report your trusted source for all your 49ers news, reaction and analysis.