A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois

Scouting reports of the wide receivers in the 2012 Draft.
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A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois

Postby Pudge » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:52 pm

Illinois Senior
40: 4.39


Has good speed that shows ability to separate from corners, particularly on the crossing routes. Gets a good release and accelerates well to his top speed quickly off the line. Has the potential to be a vertical threat. Has an explosive first step after the catch and able to make the first defender miss in space. At times will lower the shoulder and try and run over a corner. Can adjust to the low throw and will extend for the ball to catch with his hands. ABle to adjust to the back-shoulder throw and will attack the ball in the air for the most part.


Doesn't play to his timed speed, as he's not a guy that has the elite speed to just run by corners on the go routes. Has inconsistent effort as a pass catcher, not finishing plays and routes on poorly thrown passes. Only gives perfunctory effort as a blocker and misses assignments there. Doesn't have reliable hands, having too many lapses in concentration. Doesn't really win in traffic because he doesn't use his body to get position and won't consistently attack the ball. Will hear the footsteps at times when working along the sideline.


Jenkins is a talented and explosive receiver that has the vertical speed and abilities after the catch that NFL teams are looking for. But there is too much inconsistency to his game, and too often he plays soft or like he doesn't care. He was Illinois' top target in the passing game, and he certainly was held back quite a bit by an erratic passing game. It makes you wonder that if some of the issues with his effort was due to him being disengaged over frustration, but it's definitely a red flag that will need to be paid attention to. He was on the verge of transferring from Illinois after 2009, but the arrival of Paul Petrino as OC helped convinced him to stick it out.


(11/12) vs. Michigan: 19 targets, 8 rec., 103 yds (12.9 avg), 20 YAC (2.5 avg), 0 TDs, 3 drops
(12/31) vs. UCLA: 12 tgt., 6 rec. 80 yds (13.3 avg), 57 YAC (9.5 avg), 1 TDS, 1 drop


2011: 13 GP/12 GS, 90 catches, 1276 yds, 14.2 avg, 8 TDs; 5 KOR, 15.8 avg, 0 TDS
2010: 13/9-56-746-13.3-7
2009: 8/3-10-123-12.3-1; 11-18.5-0
2008: 12/1-11-287-26.1-3; 22-22.3-1

- missed time in spring prior to 2011 with a wrist injury
- missed 2 games in 2009 due to a knee injury


With Jenkins you have to wonder if he has good football character. He was a two-time All Big Ten Academic selection, so he's presumably not a bad guy. But you wonder if he has the want to really excel at the next level, which is necessary especially for wide receivers. Because of that, I think he might just wind up being a role player. I think he can be a solid one without a ton of improvement, but more in line with a No. 3 or 4 guy in most teams. He'll work best in an offense that will use him as a complementary guy that will try to get him on the short routes to use his YAC potential, but also allow him to go down the field vertically on the outside. I think he has the potential to be a starter, but not a guy that is ever really going to catch a lot of passes. He's more likely to be the guy that as a starter is only going to catch 30-40 passes and help provide the occasional big play. But unless he is working across from a true No. 1 guy that can catch 80-100 passes and be the sort of go-to workhorse in the passing game like a Roddy White or Andre Johnson, then he'll be better suited to being your 3rd or 4th option. I think teams are going to look at his timed speed and hope he can be a Mike Wallace-type guy that can take the top off a defense, and I think those teams are going to wind up disappointed. Jenkins is more of a Jacoby Jones-type of guy that can work in that sort of role if he's your third or fourth option in the passing game, but not on a consistent basis and not against the quality corners. Like a Jones, he might be able to give you 3 or so really good games against weaker secondaries per year. But the remainder of the season, he'll be a virtual no-show. He has potential to contribute on special teams as a kick returner because of his speed, but his lack of production makes me skeptical that he'll be anything more than average there.


Jacoby Jones, Texans.


Jenkins would add a nice vertical element to the Falcons offense that can be a functional slot receiver. But I wouldn't expect him to bring much more than Douglas already brings there, except he'll likely be a bit more adept at the vertical routes because of his better size and range. But any improvement probably won't be by a huge degree. He has the upside to pass Douglas as the No. 3 guy, but that would probably take several years before that happened. And he would likely have to play on special teams, either as a returner or cover guy as a rookie to merit much playing time right away. He's a better offensive talent than Meier is as the No. 4 receiver, but he doesn't play with the sort of toughness that makes you think he'll be a good cover guy. And again his return skills are questionable, thus meaning he could be a guy that doesn't play for two or more years. And unless he really used that time to commit himself to become a significantly better receiver (which I wouldn't say is a sure bet), he could wind up being a guy that three years from now is cut from the team and only managed to catch 30 passes during his time here in Atlanta. Or if he did develop, he could be like Douglas a guy that can contribute 30 or so catches per year off the bench as an occasionally explosive role player.


Jenkins has talent worth a look in the draft but his finesse playing style and questionable special teams value makes him a bit of a boom/bust prospect. But his offensive potential is still worth a look potentially as high as the fourth round.

1-pathetic, 2-poor, 3-weak, 4-below average, 5-average, 6-above average, 7-good, 8-very good, 9-excellent, 10-elite

Speed: 8.0
Hands: 5.5
After Catch: 7.0
Body Control: 6.0
Range: 6.0
Blocking: 3.0
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.

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