The ‘what-ifs’ and ‘could-have-beens’ will always surround Jarvis Jenkins. Washington's 2011 second-round pick impressed many of the coaches in training camp last year and showed great progress in picking up the defense. However, a torn ACL would end his preseason and wipe out his entire rookie year.
Now the former Clemson star is back in uniform and participated at full speed in 11-on-11 drills for the first time since the injury. According to the Washington Times, Jenkins says he’s gotten stronger and was able to recover faster because of the self-rehab he did in addition to the prescribed regiment.
If Jenkins is anywhere near the force he was becoming last fall, he will be a monster along the defensive line. At this point, you have to worry about when and where he is going to get reps. With Adam Carriker re-signing to a four-year, $20 million deal and Stephen Bowen in the second year of his five-year, $27.5 million contract, where does Jenkins fit?
If Jenkins isn’t starting, he will undoubtedly be the first defensive end the team substitutes in for either Bowen or Carriker. But could the team possibly let the second-year defensive end overtake either of these vets whom they are paying starters salaries?
When Jenkins proves he is starting caliber, will he be able to take starting reps away from either Carriker or Bowen? If Jenkins is the best defensive lineman on the roster, as many in the organization alluded to last year, he certainly deserves the top slot on the depth chart.
Add into the mix a possible rotation through the nose spot given Jenkins' incredible strength, and DC may end up with a defensive line by committee. Hopefully Jenkins fully recovers and realizes the potential he was working towards last year.
He will have to battle this summer for reps and his spot on the depth chart. The three starters along the defensive line that stand in Jenkins’ way have 13 years and over $60 million left on their contracts.
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