Saints NT John Jenkins Will Need To Push For Playing Time


The New Orleans Saints got a value signing with defensive lineman Kevin Williams on Friday that couples veteran experience with his ability on the field especially in stopping the run.

That’s very good news for the defense but could be bad news for others looking for playing time on the defensive line especially at the nose tackle position.

While Williams is capable of playing defensive end as well, the Saints will likely use him to clog the middle.

Oct 19, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New Orleans Saints nose tackle Brodrick Bunkley (77) is slow to get up after suffering an apparent injury during the third quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a spot that has mainly been manned by Brodrick Bunkley since he came aboard in 2012 and then most recently by John Jenkins when Bunkley suffered an injury and then was placed on injured reserve in 2014.

Another player that saw limited action at the position was practice squad player Lawrence Virgil who was promoted to the active roster late in the season and played 26 snaps in the Saints Week 17 game.

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Jenkins also dealt with injuries last year that sidelined him for the first few games and his outing this past season was less than favorable.

With the Saints first round of organized team activities in the books, not much has been heard of Jenkins other than he’s been working with the first team defense in the absence of Bunkley who missed practice this past Wednesday.

It will be interesting to see what will happen when the Saints open a 3-day mini-camp practice beginning this Tuesday at their facility.

Unlike the one-shot glimpse the media was allowed to have during the past few weeks of OTA’s, all three practices will be open to the public and media with weather permitting.

Dec 15, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is sacked by New Orleans Saints nose tackle John Jenkins (92) during the second half at Soldier Field. New Orleans won 31-15. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

With Jenkins, he’ll push for more playing time to prove that his second year performance was just truly a sophomore slump.

To do that he’ll have to edge out Bunkley and the newly added Williams at the nose position.

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Last season the Saints kept a total of three nose tackles on the roster that consisted of Bunkley, Jenkins, and Brandon Deaderick.

While the Saints don’t have an official depth chart, I took a look at to see their latest which was last updated on June 1st.

It listed Bunkley as the starter at nose tackle followed by Jenkins, Virgil, and rookie Ashaad Mabry which I think is pretty accurate.

Of course as mentioned the chart was last updated on June 1st which was prior to the Williams signing as well as others being held out for possible injuries.

With Williams in the mix, you can speculate he’ll hop ahead of Jenkins and likely start seeing reps with the first team defense as well as the second team.

Oct 6, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Kevin Williams (94) lines up against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

That in turn could start eating into Jenkins’ reps and push him from first team defense to second team.

What could be a saving grace for him is if Bunkley who has dealt with multiple injuries including the quadriceps injury that forced him to injured reserve last year isn’t going at 100 percent.

In hindsight Bunkley has been only playing part-time the past two seasons and never took more than 37 snaps a game during that period.

The former first rounder from Florida State is 31 years old and due $4.4 million in the final year of his 5-year contract in 2016 which the Saints have restructured the past few seasons.

The push for Jenkins to move up the depth chart is prime right now considering this factor including the new mantra the Saints have that is located at “N. Compete St.”

For Jenkins to be where he wants on this roster he needs to punch that address in to his mental GPS and hit the pedal hard…..

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