With Cullen Jenkins being inked by the New York Giants earlier this week I thought I'd give out my thoughts on the Jenkins signing while at the same time previewing another defensive tackle option with today's 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile.
I like the signing of Jenkins by the Giants because it's cost-effective and it provides insurance in the very possible scenario where Marvin Austin or Markus Kuhn can't win the starting job at defensive tackle out of training camp. Austin is at best a question mark, though a very talented one and Kuhn is a soon to be 27-year-old second year player with limited football experience the defensive tackle position is filled with question marks. Although both Kuhn and Austin offer potential, both appear to be better suited to be gap penetrating pass rushers who might never excel in run defense, which is not in itself a negative, which brings us to Jenkins.
Jenkins is an interesting player, he has been a very productive interior pass rushers the past three years, in fact one of the better pass rushers from the DT spot in the league, but he is an average to below average run defender during his NFL career. That gives the Giants three guys (Jenkins, Austin, Kuhn) who are better suited to rush the passer, one two guys who have size to be a terrific run defender but not the consistency (Linval Joseph and Shaun Rogers).
You don't need me to tell you that the Giants struggle to stop the run last year, so while I think adding Jenkins was a very good move, I think the Giants could and should still consider adding another player who excels at stopping the run, that's what brings us to today's profile: John Jenkins of Georgia.
Massive man at 6-foot-4, 346 pounds who eats up blockers. Good movement skills for a man is size, but not great movement skills overall for an NFL linemen. Good functional strength and requires consistent double teams. He can collapse the pocket which should help out the outside pass rushers, but he's not a guy who will make a lot of plays on the quarterback in the backfield.
He doesn't play with consistently good pad level. He has conditioning and weight issues. Jenkins doesn't use his hands well enough. Didn't quality academically out of high school so you'll probably run across a few scouting reports questioning his intelligence
Player comparison: Gabe Watson (NFL.com)
Does He Fit With The Giants?
It would depend on how they use him. Jenkins is a massive man who eats up space. He'll generally be considered as a 3-4 nose tackle as his best fit, but I think the league is evolving in many ways and he can be effective in a 4-3 alignment too as long as he's asked to take up blockers to collapse the pocket or help in run support.
Personally, I think the Giants need to find a defensive tackle like Jenkins and pair him with an athletic linebacker who can make plays sideline to sideline to improve their run defense.
Big Board Rankings
Sports Illustrated-outside the top 40
Big Blue View Board-29th
Jenkins could be in play for the Giants with their second-round pick depending on what happens during the rest of free agency and whether or not they view Jenkins as a guy who can fit into their system. Jenkins will never be a dominating pass rusher though his presence could benefit everyone else. He should eat up space and make a major impact as a run defender, I don't think he can be block consistently with just one man, which is why I value him a little more than the rest and I'm willing to over look his biggest flaws which is his conditioning weight control.
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