It’s not a secret that the New Orleans Saints are in the market for some defensive help in their front seven and they have addressed linebacker so far in free agency with the signing of James Laurinaitis and Nate Stupar.
But depth is what decimated the team this past season, and they’ll also look to the draft to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
According to WalterFootball.com, the Saints are showing some interest in University of Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins and have a workout scheduled with him.
Jenkins is considered a tweener or hybrid who could play as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme or be a pure pass rusher in a 4-3 like he did a Georgia.
Nov 1, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jordan Jenkins (59) works out prior to the game against the Florida Gators at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
In 2012 and 2013, Jenkins played at around 270 pounds; but when new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt came along in 2014, he slimmed down to around 250 pounds to adjust to his new scheme.
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His final two years at UGA were pretty consistent; with him having 9.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles each year, followed by 128 total tackles and 9 sacks both years combined.
He would finish up his college career with 204 total tackles, 39 tackles for a loss, 19 sacks, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Jenkins appeared at the NFL Scouting Combine at around 259 pounds. and ran what speed freaks may call a ‘pedestrian’ 4.80 40 yard dash and only had 16 reps on bench press.
He did well though in his position group with a 36.5 inch vertical and 121 inch broad jump to showcase his explosive power, and ended up helping his stock again after having a a good Pro Day as well — where his numbers were comparable to the Scouting Combine.
Once viewed as a late round pick, Jenkins has climbed his way up some scouts draft boards and mock drafts as well into possibly the mid-rounds.
Sep 12, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores quarterback Johnny McCrary (2) is sacked by Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jordan Jenkins (59) during the first half at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The only questions that hang with him are the aforementioned tweener traits he possesses; with analysts wondering if he can truly be a dynamic edge rusher in the NFL or if he can hang in pass coverage as a linebacker with his lack of long speed.
But there are some other traits that the Saints could be zeroing in on with Jenkins as he was voted team captain while at Georgia and had what was referred to as “professional attitude” when he played.
NFL.com also reported in their analysis of Jenkins that:
"Very aware of what is happening around him. Has a high football IQ and has understanding of down, distance and tendencies."
This has been a huge point of emphasis of the Saints as they try to inject the roster with players who not only have a positive attitude, but are extremely cerebral when it comes to understanding their schemes and can adjust quickly to the game as well.
This was one reason the Saints drafted Stephone Anthony in the first round last year and he demonstrated the ability to man the middle linebacker spot as a starter with only a few hiccups.
Nov 8, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jordan Jenkins (59) tackles Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Patrick Towles (14) at Commonwealth Stadium. Georgia defeated Kentucky 63-31. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
That Jenkins has played multiple roles with his “hand in the dirt” as well as in a two-point stance, is probably another checkmark that prompted the workout; so that the Saints can get a better “feel” of where he would fit in defensive coordinator Dennis Allen’s scheme — should they select him in the 2016 NFL Draft and if he is able to man both spots should injuries occur.
One plus that stood out to me was that Jenkins remained consistent his final two years at Georgia, even though he was said to be plagued with a hip and groin injury during his senior campaign.
And let’s face it, the only thing the Saints have been consistent with lately is having the bottom rung defense and being 7-9 in the NFL…….