Steven Jenkins – Linebacker

Jenkins is listed as the inside linebacker in their defensive scheme. Because Alabama played a lot of 2 wide receiver formations, Texas A&M often played with just two linebackers with Jenkins being one of them. Jenkins played the whole game and had some good flashes, but his overall play was average.
Jenkins is a 4th year senior and a Junior College transfer. He played one year of junior college ball then transferred to A&M. He was a part time starter in 2011 before becoming a regular in in 2012. He has very average linebacker size at 6’2" – 220. He has a long, lean frame. While he is a good athlete with good play speed, he is not overly strong or physical. I thought he showed adequate reactions versus both the run and pass. He can find the ball. What I don’t like is he is not a tough, aggressive player at the point of attack. I only saw one impressive play in this game and there were only 2 plays made at or near the line of scrimmage. The big play was early in the 4th quarter when he helped stop ‘Bama running back J.J. Yeley for no gain and caused a fumble at the 3 yard line. He shot the gap and came unblocked on the play. For the rest of the game, his plays were downfield or pursuit plays. Because of his lack of size and top strength, Jenkins can struggle getting off blocks. There were a few plays where he was driven 4-6 yards off the line. He lacks good hand use. He makes some plays when unblocked but none when blocked. As a pursuit player he usually takes good angles and shows a burst.
In coverage, he takes good drops. He can get depth and shows fairly good receiver awareness. He has range in coverage and has adequate ball reactions. I didn’t see enough man coverage to be able to grade. As a pass rusher he blitzes a few times a game. He is best when he comes free on delayed blitzes, otherwise he can get stopped cold when blocked.
There will be some teams that like Jenkins because he has some speed and athleticism. He is a run and hit type linebacker. I personally don’t like linebackers who aren’t strong point of attack players, but this is basically a difference in philosophy. I will need to get a later look at this player but based on the Alabama game, I feel he is a late pick at best.