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Georgia DT John Jenkins in shape after shedding nearly 40 pounds

By Matt Rybaltowski | CBSSports.com

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John Jenkins is down to 332 after nearly shedding 40 pounds. (USATSI)

John Jenkins is regarded as a potential late-first round pick for his combination of size and athleticism that is virtually unmatched among his peers in this month's NFL Draft.

Jenkins, though, risked plunging down draft boards after ballooning to 370 pounds during the SEC Championship against Alabama. The former Georgia defensive tackle has responded with an intense condition program over the last several months that helped him shed nearly 40 pounds. He is now reportedly down to 332, according to Pro Football Talk.

“When you're in the moment, you don't want the negative feedback,” Jenkins told the Macon Telegraph. “The program stuck behind me (and) kept saying I was 354, when in reality I was 370.”

While Jenkins' numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine weren't as popping as the ones turned in by Dontari Poe in 2012, the Bulldogs' lineman compares favorably with the former Memphis tackle. At 6-3, 346 pounds, Poe put up 44 reps on the 225-pound bench press and was clocked at an unofficial time of 4.98 in the 40-yard dash in February 2012. Jenkins had hoped to finish ahead of Poe in the 40, but was clocked at 5.2 seconds. With 30 reps on the bench press, Jenkins ranked among the top defensive linemen in the category. Poe's performance is considered as one of the most impressive by a defensive lineman in combine history.

Jenkins has also employed a strict diet to help lose the excess weight. On a given day, Jenkins will wake up as early as 6 a.m. and drink a protein shake before his morning workout. After a light meal around 10 and a bigger lunch an hour later, he had another shake following his afternoon workout. The shakes, Jenkins said, contain fresh fruits such as pineapples, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.

The Vikings, Colts, Chargers, Cowboys, Broncos and 49ers are among the teams that could target a run-stuffing tackle like Jenkins in the early rounds of the draft. The 49ers have scheduled a workout with Jenkins, according to NFL.com. Jenkins said he models his game after Vince Wilfork and former Jets three-time All-Pro defensive tackle Kris Jenkins.

“Wilfork is a dominant guy, so is Kris. I feel like Kris is very versatile and is a big man that can move,” Jenkins said. “My strength is going to carry me a long way.”

Keep your eye on everything NFL by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter @mattrybaltowski.

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