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90-Man Roster Preview: Jackrabbit Hops To Top Of Cornerback Rankings

Janoris Jenkins proved the Giants lats season for spending big to acquire him

NFL: New York Giants-OTA
Janoris Jenkins
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Eyebrows were raised a year ago when the New York Giants gave Janoris Jenkins a five-year, $62.5 million contract with $28.8 million guaranteed. That’s elite money, the eighth-highest contract in the NFL among cornerbacks, for a guy who never looked like an elite player during four seasons with the St. Louis Rams.

“I feel like I had been doing it in St. Louis, but St. Louis is St. Louis and I am just glad to be here in New York where the lights shine bright and everybody gets to see you,” Jenkins said near the end of last season.

Jenkins admitted last season that playing with the talented Giants defense was different for him than being in St. Louis, where he felt he had to force the action.

“You take a lot of chances and you need a lot of plays,” Jenkins said about his time with the Rams. “Here, you can just play within the scheme, play for your teammates and hopefully bring the energy.”

Let’s take a closer look at Jackrabbit as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

2016 Season In Review

Jenkins justified the risk the Giants took by having a Pro Bowl season. He quickly became the Giants’ No. 1 corner, shadowing the opposition’s best receiver nearly every week. In two games, he held Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys to one catch, and forced a fumble on that play.

Jenkins finished the season as the eight-highest graded corner, getting a score of 88.2 from Pro Football Focus. Jenkins had three interceptions and a career-high 18 passes defensed.

2017 Season Outlook

“There are a lot of ways that I can be better,” Jenkins said during OTAs. “You always can critique yourself as far as paying attention to the small details. Understanding what is coming when it is coming, staying square at the line. It is just small things and just coming out and working at it every day.”

Can Jenkins really be better? I don’t know, but he will have to be very good for the Giants again.

He will face Bryant, Alshon Jeffrey of the Philadelphia Eagles and Terrelle Pryor of the Washington Redskins twice. Jackrabbit will also line up against Mike Evans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Amari Cooper of the Oakland Raiders and every other opposing No. 1 receiver.

At 28, Jenkins is in his prime. Since he showed a season ago that he could handle the challenges of New York, and of playing against the best receivers in the league, there is no reason to think he won’t have another outstanding season.