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John Jenkins was a surprise selection at pick No. 82. When the Saints moved up to gain a second third-round pick, it seemed they would take a pass-rusher.
Instead they took a mammoth-sized defensive lineman who doesn't really have a true position, and that fact is actually a compliment.
Looking at the way the Dallas Cowboys, under Rob Ryan, used their defensive linemen a season ago, gives us some idea of what we can expect in terms of playing time for the rookie.
Interestingly, only Jason Hatcher played more than 38 percent of the defensive snaps along the defensive line (he played 74 percent of them). New Saint, Kenyon Coleman, played the third fewest with just 16 percent.
Most of the defensive linemen who actually played saw action on approximately 30 percent of the defensive snaps. In other words, Ryan will liberally rotate his linemen. Thus, expect to see Jenkins approximately 25-30 percent of the time, which comes out to about 300 snaps for the season, or 18 per game.
That fits in nicely with my initial thoughts, that Jenkins would play 15-20 per game in his rookie campaign. He will be a rotational defensive lineman, even in his rookie season.
His production will be based upon whether he is helping clog running lanes. He has the size and overall body mass to do so successfully, but the film shows a player likely to fall flat on his face quite often.
Still, let's land at this: Jenkins will have zero sacks, two tackles for loss and will help improve the league's worst rushing defense in 2012. After all, there's nowhere to go but up for the unit.