Mike Shanahan selected 21 players in the 2011 and 2012 drafts, and the seventeen who remain on the roster are set to enter a critical stage in their development. In the coming weeks, Redskins Insiders Tarik El-Bashir and Rich Tandler will take a look at what those players have accomplished thus far and what they still must do in order to solidify their status in the NFL.
Who: Jarvis Jenkins
Position: Defensive end
Draft year/round/pick: 2011/2/41st
Career to date: Jenkins’ first three seasons have been mostly marked by adversity.
The Clemson product’s pro career got off to a promising start in the summer of 2011. Then he suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during a preseason game and, what would have been his rookie season, turned into six months of rehab instead.
Upon returning in 2012, the 6-4, 315-pounder moved into the starting lineup in Week 3 after veteran Adam Carriker was lost for the season due to injury. Jenkins recorded 25 combined tackles and 13 quarterback hurries (according to ProFootballFocus.com) in a mostly solid sophomore season that gave coaches hope he might break out in his third season.
But instead of surging out of the gates in 2013, he suffered a setback in training camp. Jenkins was suspended by the NFL for the first four games for violating of the NFL’s policy on banned performances-enhancing substances.
After being eased back into the lineup beginning in Week 5, Jenkins struggled to make a consistent impact. He finished the campaign with 22 combined tackles, five quarterback hurries and the first two sacks of his career.
Outlook for 2014: So far, Jenkins’ career has been a tale of unfulfilled potential.
In 28 career regular season games, he’s proven to be effective against the run and shown he’s also capable of occupying blockers and opening lanes for linebackers. His next challenge, though, is a big one: he's got to round out his game by becoming a more disruptive pass rusher.
The good news for Jenkins (and the Redskins) is that he possesses upside. He’s still only 25 years old, his surgically repaired knee no longer hampers him physically or gives him pause mentally and he's coachable. Jenkins will also be plenty motivated because he's entering a contract year. And there’s this: Despite a change at the top, the Redskins are sticking with the 3-4 scheme and Jenkins will be playing for the same position coach (Jacob Burney) and defensive coordinator (Jim Haslett) next season. Familiarity, of course, always helps.
Everything seems to be in place. But now comes the hard part for Jenkins -- actually taking the next step.