|Jenkins leaving Seminoles early for the NFL (US Presswire)|
Florida State senior pass rusher Brandon Jenkins is electing to head directly to the NFL rather than petition the NCAA for a medical redshirt so that he could return to the Seminoles in 2013.
Jenkins (pictured above) was injured in Florida State's opening game of the 2012 season, a 69-3 win over Murray State. Medical tests performed in the days following the season opener confirmed that Jenkins had suffered a Lisfranc injury to his left foot. Before suffering the injury Jenkins registered three tackles, including a sack. As the photo above graphically demonstrates (note the first two fingers of his right hand), Jenkins also deflected a pass against the Racers.
While there is no denying that by enjoying a healthy, productive 2013 campaign Jenkins could have potentially boosted his stock, he'd already demonstrated natural pass rushing talents in two All-ACC seasons with the Seminoles and therefore scouts have plenty of quality tape from which to evaluate him.
Jenkins signed with Florida State as a highly regarded prep. After serving as a backup as a freshman, he exploded in 2010, finishing third in the country with 13.5 sacks as part of his 21.5 tackles for loss. With opponents focusing more attention on him a season later, Jenkins' production slipped slightly (12 tackles for loss, eight sacks) though he still led the team in both categories. After wearing jersey number 49 throughout the first three years of his collegiate career, Jenkins made the switch to No. 4 in 2012 and looked poised to have a spectacular campaign. He was recognized with the Hinesman Award at the conclusion of spring practices, an honor bestowed upon the Seminoles' best player each spring.
While used as a defensive end for Florida State, Jenkins looks smaller on tape than his listed 6-3, 260 pounds. His best asset -- a lightning quick first step -- could make him a valuable pass rush specialist in the 4-3 as the league continues to shift towards the passing game. Jenkins was not often asked to drop back into coverage with the Seminoles and thus, while his size and athleticism appear to make him a fit as a 3-4 rush linebacker, scouts will certainly want to test his flexibility and range during pre-draft workouts.
Fortunately, Jenkins is expected to be healed in time to participate at the Scouting Combine and/or his Pro Day. Like with any player coming off of a season-ending injury, Jenkins' medical grade will ultimately dictate his final draft position. He is currently rated as the No. 8 outside linebacker prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, with a second- to third-round grade.
Jenkins' speed off the edge could make him a highly valuable commodity on draft day, though he may actually wind up being the third Florida State defensive lineman selected. Junior Bjoern Werner is also thought to be strongly considering making an early jump to the NFL. He's a more well-rounded prospect than Jenkins, showcasing not only the ability to pressure the quarterback but good instincts and physicality against the run, as well.
As a clear demonstration of Florida State's depth, Jenkins' backup, senior Cornellius "Tank" Carradine is also viewed as a likely top 50 prospect. Like his two teammates, Carradine is also very quick off the snap. Of the three, Carradine's high-revving motor is his most distinguishing trait. He pursues laterally and downfield with passion, as evidenced by his team-leading 69 tackles, including 11.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks (which also leads the team). Jenkins leaves FSU with 22.5 career sacks.