Florida State senior Brandon Jenkins announced recently that he has decided to enter the 2013 NFL Draft rather than petition the NCAA for another year of eligibility after suffering a season-ending broken foot in the Seminoles' season opener.
Jenkins entered the year as a potential first-round pick and could have been among the draft's top pass-rushers had he stayed healthy. Unfortunately, the injury leaves scouts with only mediocre junior-year film to review of Jenkins.
The decision to turn pro is a somewhat surprising one, especially considering the depth at the position in this year's class. Even without the questions raised by Jenkins' foot injury, he would likely be viewed as a late day-two prospect based off of his junior-year performance.
Due to his injury, Jenkins will be one of the key prospects to watch at the combine and/or Florida State's pro day. Scouts will be interested in his measurements (he's well built, but there are concerns that he may lack the frame to add more weight) as well as his performance in the agility drills.
His performance in the agility drills will be especially key due to the fact that his explosiveness is a critical component of his game. Jenkins isn’t an overpowering bull rusher and relies on his explosion off the snap and his quick footwork to maneuver around bigger, slower offensive tackles.
If Jenkins can prove that he hasn't lost a step due to the injury, he should solidify his place in the late second or third round, but a sub-par performance could send him free-falling down draft boards.
Jenkins has stated that he expects to be ready to fully participate in the combine. However, it remains unclear whether or not he will be prepared for the Senior Bowl in mid-January. Given the typical recovery time of the Lisfranc injury he suffered in September, it would seem unlikely that he would be ready for live game action just four months after the injury.
If he does appear in the game, Jenkins would have a chance to answer all questions about his performance and injury. However, if he plays while not fully healthy, he could do more damage to his stock. As a result, it may not be worth the risk.