It didn’t take long for Jordan Jenkins to endear himself to his NFL head coach.
Jenkins had a feeling the Jets were keying on him in the 2016 NFL draft, based on the contact he had with the organization leading up to it. And while the Jets got him in the third round, it turned out to be quite a steal considering how quickly the Georgia product rose up the depth chart.
Jenkins started 11 of the 14 games he played in and figures to have a valuable role with the Jets in 2017.
“He’s going to be one of our leaders this year,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said. “We’re looking for him to make a big jump going into the season.”
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Jenkins was one half of a standout outside linebacker duo at Georgia. On the other side of Jenkins was Leonard Floyd, who was a first-round selection by the Chicago Bears in the same draft.
Bowles noted that Floyd possessed better athleticism coming out of college, which is why he went ninth overall. But during the pre-draft process, Bowles said Jenkins’ all-around game was something that stood out.
That was evidenced by the fact Jenkins started 42 of 52 games at Georgia while recording 204 tackles and 19 sacks over four years.
Bowles also said Jenkins’ work ethic was a big factor in why the Jets wanted him in their franchise.
“As a complete outside linebacker, Jordan is a good football player,” Bowles said. “We saw a good football player.”
As a rookie, Jenkins totaled 22 tackles and 2 ½ sacks.
Another former Georgia outside linebacker, however, will be looking to get his career on solid footing with his second team.
Jarvis Jones, who played for Georgia from 2011-12 after transferring from USC, landed with the Arizona Cardinals after spending his first four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Jones was a pass-rushing terror with Georgia, totaling 28 sacks in two seasons.
With the Steelers, it was a different story.
Jones, selected in the first round of the 2013 draft with the 17th overall pick, has only recorded six sacks in four NFL seasons. The Steelers were apparently OK with moving on from Jones before his fourth season with the franchise as his fifth-year option wasn’t picked up.
Instead, Jones became a free agent and signed with the Cardinals.
And Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians couldn’t be happier about Jones’ addition.
“He looked really, really good this spring as a powerful rusher,” Arians said. “He really fits our style of an outside linebacker. I look for big things for him. I don’t know how many sacks he’ll get but he’ll create a lot of sacks for other guys. I like the way he plays. He’s been a great addition to our squad.”
Arians said the Cardinals will use Jones differently than how the Steelers were utilizing him.
By doing so, Arians hopes Jones will be more productive than he was with his previous team.
“For us, we rush him more than cover him,” Arians said. “He’s not going to drop in pass coverage much. We rush him in a different style than they did in Pittsburgh.”