University of Georgia

Georgia's Jenkins improves NFL stock

DAVID BARNES/UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIAFormer Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins completes a drill for NFL scouts during Georgia's Pro Day at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on Wednesday.
DAVID BARNES/UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIAFormer Georgia linebacker Jordan Jenkins completes a drill for NFL scouts during Georgia's Pro Day at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on Wednesday.

ATHENS -- As linebacker Jordan Jenkins took the field for Georgia's Pro Day on Wednesday, a familiar face peered over the chain-link fence.

Standing on the other side of the fence near the sole remaining turf field at the Butts-Mehre football complex was Ronald Jenkins, Jordan's father. But for Jordan, that was just business as usual.

"Having my dad out there's like having another coach," Jenkins said. "He coached me all throughout when I was younger because he played at Colorado State for a year and overseas in Germany when he was with the Army."

The first outdoor event of the day was the 40-yard dash, the latest time Jenkins' father watched him on a football field.

"He's an intense guy," Jenkins said. "He used to make me late for practice when I was growing up so I'd have to do bear crawls and extra sprints. He's like a drill sergeant."

While the upbringing was tough, Jenkins said it taught him a lot, including "respect, hard work and just how to work and approach things the right way."

Now, that upbringing has Jenkins on the verge of a major payday after the NFL draft in May. Most mock drafts have him anywhere from the second to the third round. The cost of dropping from the first pick of the second round to the first pick of the third round was about $2.5 million throughout the life of a rookie contract.

"This is an interview and you don't want to mess up on an interview ... it's sort of intense," Jenkins said. "But it's also, it's still fun in the same manner of speaking. No matter how tired I look, it's still fun being back out here on the field."

Jenkins came in knowing that he needed to improve on his NFL combine numbers, especially in his 40-yard dash time. Not only did he knock four-hundredths of a second off his time, but he improved pretty much every drill that he participated in.

Of course, there's more for Jenkins to work on than just what can be measured with a stopwatch.

"Things to work on for me is my hand usage," Jenkins said. "Sometimes when I'm setting the edge and when sometimes I'm striking a blocker, I get my hands out of place and make the job of setting the edge a lot harder than it should be."

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff thought Jenkins had a "sound" workout Wednesday, a positive statement coming from someone representing a franchise in need of linebacker help.

"For him, he's just, everything about him: long arms, he's a big, stout guy," Dimitroff said. "I think there were a lot of teams here that -- he had three or four teams, as well -- they were honed in on him."

Still, Jenkins knows that he has things to overcome. One of his biggest hurdles, in fact, might be his production. Last season, Jenkins totaled just 4.5 sacks, which isn't an eye-popping number for a highly drafted pass rusher.

And he knows that there are aspects to his game that go beyond the numbers that he hopes teams see when they watch the film.

"I'm the type guy, if I had to go down a play inside to get more pass rushers, more athletes on the field, I would," Jenkins said. "There were times when I was setting up other guys to make plays. Hopefully that's what coaches see, the way I play and not the stats, just the way I go about business on the field and the passion I have on the field."

He'll have the opportunity to do just that in private workouts. While he's met with a handful of teams for interviews -- including Buffalo, New England, the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks, among other -- he'll have the chance to work out for Oakland, New Orleans and New England next week.

After that, all Jenkins can do is work out and wait until April 28-30 for his name to be called.

"Time's really ticking," Jenkins said. "I remember just like it was yesterday playing Penn State and then immediately after that, getting ready for the Senior Bowl and getting ready for the combine.

"Days, they're just running by. Definitely getting anxious and nervous."