Each day during training camp, the Redskins Blog will be highlighting one rookie as they participate in their first professional camp and try to find their way onto the final roster. Today’s spotlight is on linebacker Brandon Jenkins.
One of the more under-the-radar moves that the Washington Redskins made during the offseason was the selection of Florida State University linebacker Brandon Jenkins in the fifth round (162nd overall) of the NFL Draft.
Each year, fans flock to training camps across the country to see how rookies are translating to life at the NFL level. While watching the teams gel as a collective unit, they often keep a keen eye on late round rookies, hopeful that they have landed a stud.
For those of you who are coming to Richmond, make sure to pay close attention to Jenkins. After falling down the board simply due to an injury derailed final season at FSU, he wants to do what anyone in position would—hit somebody.
“First thing I wanted to do is just hit somebody,” Jenkins said about returning to the field full healthy. “It’s been that long.”
Moving to linebacker
Just like fellow linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, Jenkins spent the majority of his college career in a three-point stance at defensive end.
Now in a 3-4 defense, defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is moving Jenkins to the linebacker spot where he’ll start in a more upright position.
“Obviously that’s the learning point,” Haslett told the media during the team’s minicamp in June. “You know, that’s not easy to do. I mean, you’ve got your hand in the dirt your whole life and then you stand up and it’s a new world. You’ve got receivers out there, you’ve got to know the coverages, you’ve got to learn to drop, you’ve got to learn the run fronts, you’ve got to know when the run forces – you know, all that stuff and that takes time. That’s going to be the learning part of it.”
Jenkins echoed that sentiment and said that he was hard at work during the six week period between minicamp and training camp studying the technique.
“I’m working on dropping back in coverage and standing up,” Jenkins said about his position change. I” stood up a little bit in college, but now it’s a little more. I’ve got to know this and know that, but I’m just learning the technique.”
Kerrigan, Brian Orakpo, London Fletcher and Perry Riley bring a wealthy of experience and success that is unmatched, so when the opportunity to learn under their expert tutelage presented itself, Jenkins instantly went to them.
“With their experience in the league, you want to get advice from them,” Jenkins said. “They’ve been there, done that and they know what it takes to be the best.”
Choosing his hometown’s university
Scan through college football’s best year-to-year records and you’ll usually see Florida State University at or near the top.
The school won two national championships in the 1990’s and more importantly for high schoolers with NFL aspirations, 240 Seminoles have been taken in the draft since 1951.
Growing up just minutes from campus, Jenkins admitted that he was always a fan; making his college choice a no-brainer when he got accepted.
“I grew up in Tallahassee so if you grow up in Tallahassee or around it, you’re a Florida State fan,” Jenkins said. “So that’s where I wanted to be and I went there.”
Life before the bright lights
You see that young man right there? No, that isn’t one of the ball boys. That’s Jenkins circa 2008.
At 6-3, 218 pounds, he stood out in his high school’s locker filled hallways, but at the NFL level, he would have looked like a kicker compared to the rest of his linebacking core.
As soon as the four-star recruit committed to FSU, he packed on a few pounds with some protein infused steak.
“I’ve always been told you can’t be too small,” Jenkins said about adding to his frame. “So I just kept eating.”
Don’t worry about him ballooning to the NFL’s biggest player anytime soon, though, he says he knows when and when not to bulk up.
“I can control my weight.”
Five W’s and One H
Who is the strongest player on the team?
“I don’t know that yet, but it’s gotta be one of the defensive [players].”
What does it mean to be on your high school’s Wikipedia page?
“I didn’t even know that, that’s funny. It’s a blessing but it’s all surreal to be here right now just growing up and living my dream right now.”
Where is your favorite place to eat?
“I’m a steak and hot wings kind of dude, but downtown Washington, D.C. The Hamilton. They have the best wings.”
When did you first meet (college/Redskins teammate) Chris Thompson?
“I actually meet him in high school. We played against him in the U.S. Army All-American Game.”
Why did you wear No. 4 at FSU?
“I try to change it up a little bit every now and then. Lebron James changed him number and so did Kobe Bryant.”
How hungry are you right now?
“I’m starving. I’m about to go get some steak and wings.”
Tags: Brandon Jenkins, Rookie Spotlight
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