2009 NFL Draft: Saints select CB Malcolm Jenkins in the 1st round
While the Saints had sparse picks in the 2009 draft, they spun straw into gold (per usual) and assembled their Super Bowl XLIV roster with key picks – starting with Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins.
The Saints acquired Jenkins with the 14th overall pick; they also gained punter Thomas Morstead and traded for TE Jeremy Shockey and LB Jonathan Vilma in the 2009 draft.
Jenkins was a consensus All-American and recipient of the Jim Thorpe award; all things considered, he was considered the nation’s top cornerback – until the NFL Combine, where his poor 40-time sparked debates of whether he could succeed as a shutdown cornerback in the league.
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Nonetheless, Jenkins entered the 2009 season as the third CB on the Saints depth chart.
And after injuries sidelined CBs Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter, Jenkins became the starter for the last six games of the regular season – recording 49 solo tackles, 4 pass deflections and an interception in his rookie year. Indeed, he earned his first Super Bowl ring as a cornerback in Super Bowl XLIV.
Jenkins officially converted to the safety position after the Saints drafted Patrick Robinson in 2010, who similarly returned from Philadelphia in 2018. Payton announced his intention to coin Jenkins as a free safety in a rookie minicamp press conference:
"“I think what’s happened in the past few years is that nature of what we knew as strong and free safety has bled together a little more than it was 10 years ago or so. What Gregg and our defensive staff is going to ask either safety to do is at times play down in the run front and at times play back. But I think initially you would look at him as a free and begin there, but he’s going to have to do a lot of the same things we ask our strong to do.”"
Jenkins became the Saints’ starting free safety in 2011, where he remained until the Saints let him walk in 2014.