After an embarrassing performance in all aspects of the defense in 2012, the New Orleans Saints had to target a tackle to improve their horrid run stop. When the long-awaited 2013 NFL Draft finally arrived, Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis snatched up John Jenkins in the third round of the selection process.
Jenkins played collegiately at the University of Georgia after two years at Mississippi Gulf Cost Community College in Perkinston, MS. As a sophomore at MGCCC, he recorded 41 tackles and two sacks before being encountered by Head Coach Mark Richt of the UGA football team. The four-star recruit passed up on Auburn, Miami and several other top-notch programs to join the Bulldogs in Athens, GA.
During his two years in the SEC, Jenkins collected 78 total tackles, four sacks, an interception and a forced fumble. He also played a key role in Georgia’s SEC East championship his first year and earned himself Second-Team All-SEC honors as a senior in 2012.
As a rookie with the Black and Gold, he started in five games as part of the nose tackle rotation, tallying 21 tackles during the regular season along with five more and a sack during the postseason. With Brodrick Bunkley‘s recent struggles and rookie Moses McCray a non-factor at the moment, Jenkins could take over starting duties with a shining performance at training camp.
Even with a top defense, the Saints still allowed 111 yards on the ground last season, which ranked No. 19 in the league. At 6-foot-3 and 359 pounds, Jenkins is the team’s biggest plug up the middle in Rob Ryan‘s unit. With his superb size, outstanding strength and good quickness for his position, he’s got the ability to take on multiple blockers at once — traits that could transform a struggling run stop into a power on the line of scrimmage.
We could see a number of positional battles evolve into excellent stories during training camp and John Jenkins’ fight for a starting role should be one to follow. Kickoff to camp is July 25, so look for the big-bodied beast to turn up the heat and make his claim as the New Orleans Saints’ top nose tackle.