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The former Florida State defensive end gives Washington another pass-rushing outside linebacker.
Associated Press | File February
Former Florida State defensive lineman Brandon Jenkins runs a drill during the NFL combine in Indianapolis in February.
Associated Press | File February
Redskins rookie Brandon Jenkins, who suffered a fractured foot in Florida State’s first game in 2012, had been projected as a first-round pick before the injury.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Brandon Jenkins is not overconfident. He’s not obnoxious and doesn’t think playing in the NFL will be easy.
But the fifth-round draft choice of the Washington Redskins, the 162nd player selected in the spring, is sure of one thing.
“They picked the right guy,” he said.
Jenkins, a defensive end from Florida State, will be converted to a stand-up outside linebacker in the Redskins’ 3-4 defensive scheme. His primary role, at least in the beginning of his career, will be to rush the passer.
If Jenkins proved anything as a Seminole, he can rush the passer. He had 13.5 sacks as a sophomore and eight as a junior. In his senior season, he had just one sack, but played in just one game after suffering a fractured foot in the Seminoles’ first game of the 2012 season.
That’s a primary reason Jenkins stayed on the draft board until the Redskins grabbed him with what they thought was an excellent value pick in the fifth round.
“He had been projected as a first-round pick,” said Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
Generally, projected first-round picks don’t drop to the fifth round for anything short of a severe knee injury or neck issue. That Jenkins was available in the fifth round indicates there were questions regarding where he would play in the NFL.
At 6-feet-3, 260 pounds, he’s not huge for a defensive end. He is big for an outside linebacker, especially if he has to get involved in pass coverage. And eventually he will.
After organized team activities and minicamp, the Redskins have no questions on where Jenkins belongs. He’s a stand-up, pass-rushing outside linebacker.
“You can see the ability,” said Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.
When Haslett was asked if it would be possible to get three pass-rushing linebackers on the field at the same time, he said, “You have to say four, because the new guy should be included.”
And by the “new guy” he meant Jenkins?
“Yes,” Haslett said.
But the new guy has to get used to the new defense, even though Jenkins says the Redskins’ scheme is not completely new to him.
“It’s the same defense I played in high school,” he said. “Technique-wise, I have to get used to dropping into coverage and learn all the coverages.”
Chances are an NFL defense is a bit more complicated than a high school defense. But Jenkins thinks the basics he learned during his high school years in Tallahassee, Fla., will serve him well.
“I played varsity high school beginning in the eighth grade, so I’ve been in this system for a while,” he said. “I never felt as fast or as quick as I am now.
“I’m comfortable running with [tight ends and running backs]. I won’t beat them in a race, but I’ll give them a run for their money. It’s all about angles.”
There is one angle to Jenkins’ career that he did not pursue. He was in his fourth season at Florida State when he suffered his injury. He could have returned for a fifth year.
He finished his degree work in sociology last year.
“Time was flying by,” he said. “Another year meant the risk of another injury. Nah.
“I’m a big believer everything happens for a reason. It [his foot] was a freak injury. It made me mentally stronger and a better person and player on and off the field. You’ve got to go through things to make you stronger and that only made me stronger.”
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