Mike Jenkins, first-round draft pick?
Looks like Mike Jenkins made a smart decision by not bolting for the NFL Draft last spring. USF's success on the field would make that an easy judgment, but Jenkins is helping himself in terms of his draft position, if ESPN's draft experts are any indication.
Mel Kiper Jr., chatting on ESPN.com this week, said Jenkins "has a chance to be a mid-first rounder," adding that fellow corner Trae Williams could go as high as the second round. He considers linebacker Ben Moffitt a late first-day pick, with defensive end Jarriett Buie, receiver Amarri Jackson and tackle Walt Walker as potential second-day picks. When you consider that rookie Falcons linebacker Stephen Nicholas is the only USF draft pick in the last three years, that's an impressive statement.
Kiper's latest "Big Board" rankings, which are also available only through ESPN's "Insider" premium offering, have Jenkins as the No. 10 player overall, up five spots from his last ranking. "He has excellent recovery speed and the toughness you look for in a cornerback," Kiper writes. "His size allows him to match up with an opponent's No. 1 wide receiver."
USF has never had a first-round draft pick, and just to give a sense of how much money that could mean, we'll use Michigan cornerback Leon Hall, who was picked by Cincinnati with the 18th pick in last year's draft. His rookie contract included a reported $8.2-million in guaranteed money. The only Bulls alum who's gotten a bigger deal would be cornerback Anthony Henry, who got a $10-million signing bonus when he signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
Scouts Inc., which supplies ESPN with draft analysis, has Jenkins as the No. 17 senior on their draft board and the first defensive back overall. They list his 40-yard time as 4.49 seconds, a time bested by only four other players in their top 32.
I'm always iffy about pulling quotes from premium content on other sides, but there's a news aspect to what I'm writing about, and it could generate more premium subscribers for them, so ethically, I think I'm on solid ground here.