Cowboys Crave DB's: Is Janoris Jenkins Their Guy At 14?


If you are a regular reader of the living legend Rafael Vera and his site Cowboys Nation, then you would have saw some interesting news on there recently.

Wes Bunting: The one thing I wanted to tell you that I was hearing from Dallas people, the one thing that was going on was DB. That's what I heard, the position they're focusing on first and foremost is DBs.
Cowboys Nation: That's seeping through. I'm getting that impression, from what I've seen and read. Does this mean they're looking to go for one in the first, or does this mean that they'll lean on the incredible depth at the corner spot and maybe get one in the 2nd or 3rd, or take DBs in both.
WB: For all we know, it's BS and they're trying to get misleading info out there, but that's what I heard, that DB is the biggest concern for them.

CN: Where does Jenkins sit now in the first? Give me your assessment and any others that you heard in Mobile. He's obviously a first rounder, but how high can he rise after this week?

WB: I would say, 15 to 25. Somewhere in there.

CN: I saw a big mock today with him going 14 to Dallas.

WB: That's fair, because the one thing I heard from Dallas people is that they were focusing on DBs, first and foremost...

Wes Bunting passes along some information to Raf about the Cowboys heavy interest in defensive backs. That shouldn't really raise any eyebrows on here at BTB. We have been beating to death the topic of how bad our secondary has been and how we need to focus on that in free agency and the 2012 NFL Draft.

I know it's really early and we should take everything we hear with a grain of salt, but this is Wes Bunting and Raf we are talking about. These are legitimate sources who hold some clout among the NFL. This isn't some fan boy sitting in his basement and making something up.

Wes Bunting is one of the best, if not the best, draft guru's out there. Raf is one of the best Cowboys writers out there as well. When either one of these guys say something that is relevant to the Dallas Cowboys, I make sure I poke my head up and remember what they say.

Now Wes does mention that this could be a disinformation tactic by the Cowboys and usually I would agree. This time I believe the information is indeed real information.

Last year the Cowboys really put out a lot of disinformation and attempted to trick the rest of the NFL. There was talk of how the Cowboys really liked Aldon Smith and wanted to pair DeMarcus Ware with another "Ware" like talent. Call me a sucker, but I believe that one was true.

Then there was the talk about JJ Watt, and call me a sucker again because I believe that rumor was true as well.

The rumor I didn't buy was about the offensive tackles and how they would value Anthony Castonzo, Derek Sherrod, Nate Solder, and Tyron Smith the same.

I also didn't buy the rumor that the Cowboys loved Prince Amukamara, which was suggested by Michael Irvin the day of the draft on the NFL Network. Yeah, I didn't buy that one either.

So why am I buying this rumor? Well besides the sources, it just makes sense for the Cowboys to value CB's this year.

What would be the easiest route for the Cowboys to take to plug up this defense? I would say from their point of view it would be cornerback and safety. Shoring up the secondary may help the front seven. Anyway you want to look at it, the secondary needs to be addressed.

Yes, Anthony Spencer is not the answer and that is a topic I have beaten to death. From everything that has been reported so far, the Cowboys are willing to let Spencer walk in free agency and test the market. But that doesn't mean they won't attempt to resign him to a one year deal. It also could suggest they will pick up someone in free agency or draft his replacement in the second round.

I believe that the Cowboys have been watching the cornerback position for a while now. Last year they tried to replace Terence Newman before it was too late. If not for a last minute swoop in by the Eagles, Newman never would have been wearing a Cowboys uniform this year.

Then the Cowboys gave Orlando Scandrick a five year extension worth 27 million dollars. The thinking there must have been to lock Scandrick up before he hit the free agency market in 2012. The Cowboys value Scandrick in his nickel/slot role, but will give him every opportunity to win the starting job out of training camp next year.

Mike Jenkins, who I think is our best cover corner, will be on the market in 2013. I believe the Cowboys will resign Jenkins to a similar deal Orlando Scandrick received last August.

On the roster the Cowboys have only two current cornerbacks worthy of being on a NFL team, Jenkins and Scandrick. Alan Ball is a free agent and should most likely get his walking papers. Frank Walker's one year deal expires and he is another one to bite the dust. Then there is Terence Newman and his bloated contract. If the Cowboys cut Newman before June 1st, they save four million dollars. If they cut him after June 1st, they save six million dollars.

Now if you have been keeping track, that means the Cowboys will probably have to add anywhere from two to three cornerbacks.

There is free agency, but good cornerbacks don't come cheap. People have mentioned Atlanta's Brent Grimes, who is going to be 29 years old. Tennessee's Cortland Finnegan is another intriguing option on the market this year. New York's Terrell Thomas, who is coming off a major injury will also be available.

In my opinion, the cheapest route to go here is the NFL Draft. This cornerback class is the deepest it has been in the last five years. The first three rounds offer teams quality prospects who range from cover 2 type cornerbacks, to the press coverage type cornerbacks we usually prefer.

But there may be one cornerback who is arguably the cream of the crop in this years 2012 draft class. If we were having this discussion about this player a year ago, we would have been talking about him being a top ten pick. That is how good this kid can be.

Janoris Jenkins


It's a shame this kid has character and off the field issues, because he is an amazing prospect. He is on the small side, 5'9 3/4 and 191 pounds. Size is becoming something that more and more NFL teams are looking for in cornerbacks. This is one case where I am willing to overlook a prospects size because Jenkins is such a dynamic talent at cornerback.

Wes Bunting described Jenkins as "one of the hardest cornerbacks to separate from". What that means is the kid sticks to wide receivers like glue. I will not break out and dust off the "lockdown" cornerback term very often, but in this case it applies to Jenkins. He has been rumored to run a 4.36 40, so Jenkins definitely has some world class speed.

He locks onto his man and has the speed to trail a wide receiver down the field. Jenkins may have the best hips of any corner in this draft as well. He is clean in his backpedal and can cut on a dime. Really there aren't too many ways you can beat Janoris Jenkins.

Now what you see with lockdown corners sometimes is that they aren't ballhawks. Finding a cornerback who is both, is a rare occurrence in today's game. Jenkins also has the ball skills that make me drool and he reminds me a lot of Asante Samuel. Yes, Jenkins is willing to take chances to make the interception. But you have to have a cornerback with the confidence to do that, and Jenkins does have the confidence aka swagger.

Some say Jenkins is weak in the running game and isn't a good tackler. I disagree and I think Jenkins is an average tackler. He is a little chirpy and physical for a guy his size and does like to get it in sometimes. He takes really good angles on plays and he will make sure he at least gets the guy down, I believe Jenkins is a better tackler than what he gets credit for and he is no Deion Sanders in that area. Deion was the worst tackling corner of all time.

Jenkins also brings you another threat as a punt returner. This kid is a threat with the ball in his hands, so it may not be a bad idea to use him on kickoffs and punts. He is pretty dynamic in that area as well.

What I also like about Jenkins is his level of competition he faced while at Florida. He did a great job against two first round picks, AJ Green and Julio Jones. He also locked down possible future first round pick Alshon Jeffery. While he was at Florida, teams began to throw to the other side because Jenkins was that good.

  • 2010- 43 tackles, 1 sack, 3 INT's,8 PBU, 1 TD
  • 2009- 29 tackles, 1 FF, 2 INT's, 6 PBU
  • 2008- 34 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 3 INT's, 11 PBU

At Florida, Jenkins learned the off/zone coverage scheme and he excelled at it. When he transferred to North Alabama after getting kicked out of Florida for his legal and marijuana issues, he had to learn a press scheme under Terry Bowden.

This is why I think Jenkins is even more interesting as a prospect. He was great in the off/zone scheme at Florida, and then learned how to play some press/man while at Northern Alabama this year.

  • 2011- 53 tackles, 2 INT's, 4 PBU

Janoris Jenkins is a top ten talent folks. He is the real deal athletically and he will go to that combine next month and destroy it. This is why this will be such a hard decision for the Dallas Cowboys. Wes Bunting is assuming Jenkins will fall to us at 14, and could be available when we go on the clock.

But the question remains the same, will the Cowboys draft Janoris Jenkins? We all know it won't be his lack of athleticism that won't get him drafted by the Cowboys, it will be the other concerns, the off the field stuff.

Already here on BTB, we have seen some say Jenkins is the next Pacman Jones. They are calling him Pacman Jr. Is that fair to Janoris Jenkins? Is Janoris Jenkins another Pacman Jones?

We don't know because we are not there when these interviews go down. I assume each NFL team will interview Jenkins and hear what he has to say. I believe Jenkins is a kid who never had direction and leadership before. Jenkins said he formed a close bond with coach Terry Bowden and felt really humbled by all of his negative experiences at Florida.

"I didn't want people to make it seem like I was running from my problems," Jenkins said. "The reason for me going to North Alabama was to face reality, humble myself and get focused to make sure I don't make the same mistakes. I just wanted to prove to everybody that I'm not a bad kid, that I just made a few mistakes and I'm ready to move forward."

I don't think Janoris Jenkins is the next Pacman Jones. Pacman Jones was a complete thug who somehow had football skills. Now, I could be dead wrong about Janoris Jenkins, but when I look in his eyes I don't see Pacman. It's just my opinion, it's how I feel about the kid.

Like I said earlier, it is a real shame that this is the stuff holding us back from really liking him as a Cowboys prospect. He loves to play the game and is a hard worker. He made some horrible decisions and now these decisions are preventing him from possibly finding a NFL home in the 2012 NFL Draft.

We have to remember that Jerry Jones takes chances sometimes on special players. He hasn't done it as much recently and now we have the Jason Garrett era into full swing right now. But let's say Janoris comes in and has a great interview with the Cowboys. If he sells Garrett that he is a hard worker and loves the game (which I think he could), then maybe drafting Jenkins at 14 isn't such a long shot anymore.

Jerry Jones will love this kid, mark it down. Jerry loves flash and Janoris Jenkins is the flashiest cornerback in this draft. So if it is true that the Cowboys really want a cornerback, then Jenkins might be their guy.

I have to admit, Janoris Jenkins is growing on me at 14, especially if his off the field stuff is under control. If he really puts that stuff behind him and is serious about playing football, than I would embrace that pick with open arms. Not too long ago, everyone thought he was going to be the first cornerback taken in the draft.

Dez Bryant fell in the draft for some character concerns (not drugs mind you), and Jerry traded up and got his man. It wouldn't shock me to see Jerry take another chance on another immensely talented young man in the draft. At least Jerry is willing to take chances on premier talent, and Jenkins is a premier talent. I know I wouldn't mind landing one of the best cornerbacks in the draft if he is ready to move on with his life.

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