Redskins rookie review: LB Brandon Jenkins

Redskins rookie review: LB Brandon Jenkins
March 8, 2014, 1:30 pm
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In the coming weeks, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir will take a look at the seven members of Washington’s 2013 draft class, grade their rookie season and examine their future prospects.

Today, we’re evaluating linebacker Brandon Jenkins.

Drafted: 5th round (162nd overall).

Stats: Five games, one assisted tackle.

Grade: C-

2013: After recording eight combined tackles and a sack in the preseason, Jenkins made virtually no impact in the regular season.

In fact, he only participated in only 41 plays on defense spread over four games. He finished his rookie season with one assisted tackle … that he recorded on special teams … in the season opener. That was it.

Jenkins suited up in the season’s first three games but was slowed by an ankle sprain he suffered against the Lions. That injury, combined with his early ineffectiveness, kept him on the sidelines until Week 9 against San Diego. After seeing nine snaps against the Chargers, Jenkins sat out again until Week 17.

The Florida State product has impressive athleticism and a host of pass rush moves, but he must quickly put a disappointing rookie campaign behind him and focus on being much more productive in 2014.

And it starts with finding a way to get on the field.

Prospects: The Redskins drafted Jenkins because they believe he’ll develop into a pass rush specialist. They still believe he can; defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said as much at the Senior Bowl.

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But as Jenkins enters his second NFL season, the onus will be on him. First and foremost, he’ll have to prove he can contribute on special teams and, thus, earn a spot among the 46 players who dress on Sunday. That proved to be a major hurdle in 2013.

Starting outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are back. But reserves Rob Jackson and Darryl Tapp are free agents, potentially opening the door for Jenkins to earn a bigger role. He should benefit greatly from returning to a similar scheme. He should also benefit from the hiring of Brian Baker, the Redskins’ new outside linebackers coach.

“I think [Baker] can help Ryan [Kerrigan] and make [Brian Orakpo] better than he is,” Haslett said in Mobile, Ala. “We have a young guy from Florida State and we want to get him along. I think he’ll do a great job with those guys.”

The best news about Jenkins? He’s only 24, is now a year-and-a-half removed from the Lisfranc foot injury that cut his college career short, and his stock has nowhere to go but up.