Florida State defensive end Brandon Jenkins surprised some by coming back to Tallahassee for his senior season. Jenkins could have potentially been a first round pick had he declared for this past year’s NFL Draft.
Now, Jenkins has the opportunity to become Florida State’s all-time sack leader. He has 21.5 sacks, which is 14 shy of Reinard Wilson’s school record.
Jenkins burst onto the scene his sophomore season when he had 13.5 sacks. He had just eight sacks in 2011, but he was part of a defensive resurgence that saw the Seminoles rank No. 4 nationally in total defense (275 yards per game).
Here is a look at how Jenkins’ final season at Florida State could play out:
Why he’ll flourish: Jenkins is part of a Florida State defensive line that is arguably the best in the country. The Seminoles have depth across the board along their defensive line, and with defensive end Bjoern Werner on the other side, opposing offensive lines won’t be able to send many double teams. Jenkins also should be able to stay fresh with guys like Tank Carradine, who can provide the starters a break without much drop-off. Florida State’s schedule also shapes up nicely, and two of the tougher 2012 opponents, Clemson and Virginia Tech, have to replace at least three starters along the offensive line from a year ago.
Why he’ll struggle: It’s tough to find a reason why Jenkins will struggle this year other than his teammates might beat him to the quarterback. There are questions about whether Florida State can finally live up to its lofty preseason expectations, but the defensive line is a proven unit that was elite last season. There aren’t any questions about this defensive line.
NFL outlook: NFLDraftScout.com ranks Jenkins the No. 44 overall prospect in the 2013 draft class. He is also ranked the No. 4 outside linebacker in the class. Jenkins, of course, plays defensive end, but he might have to transition to outside linebacker if he is drafted by an NFL team that runs a 3-4 defense. At 6-3, 260 pounds, he could still play defensive end in a 4-3 at the next level. Jenkins will be taken early in the first two rounds.
Projected 2012 statline: 55 tackles, 11 sacks, 18 tackles for loss.
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