- Edward Aschoff, ESPN Staff Writer
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Janoris Jenkins spent a year away from SEC ball, but it apparently didn't affect his physical abilities.
The North Alabama cornerback had what ESPN NFL draft analyst Todd McShay said was "the best workout among the corners" during the final day of the NFL combine Tuesday. The former Florida standout, who was dismissed by new Florida coach Will Muschamp days after his second drug-related arrest in three months last spring, ran the sixth-best 40-time (4.46) out of all of the defensive backs and McShay said Jenkins "seemed the most confident, agile, quick-moving corner in drills."
McShay broke down some of the top defensive backs from the final day of the combine and he was very high on Jenkins:
"His feet got up and down quickly in his backpedal, and he stayed compact while pedaling and showed the ability to smoothly flips his hips and run with receivers. He did mistime one jump after turning and running to a ball thrown down the sideline, but, other than that, Jenkins did a nice job locating and playing the ball."
There has never been a question about Jenkins' talent on the field. He had always shown superb cover skills, physicality, athleticism and speed while at Florida and even played most of the 2010 season with a torn labrum in his shoulder. He was an All-SEC performer that year and shut down top SEC wide outs like A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffery and Julio Jones when matched up one-on-one with them.
What has come into question is his character. Last spring, he had the two drug arrests and his dismissal and in 2009 was involved in a fight in downtown Gainesville and was arrested and charged with misdemeanor affray and resisting arrest without violence.
He has first-round talent, but he has certainly seen his draft stock fall because of his character issues. It sounds like he did well communicating his issues during the interviewing process, so that should help him.
McShay also talked about how top corner prospect Morris Claiborne didn't do much to help or hurt his draft stock Tuesday. The former LSU star ran a pedestrian 4.5 40 and McShay said that he "gets lazy in his backpedal and plays too high at times," but with his elite-level coverage and ball skills, he's sure to stay at top-10 pick in April's NFL draft.
Also, McShay still has come concerns about Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who ran a 4.51 in the 40.
McShay said of Kirkpatrick: "Kirkpatrick showed some stiffness in drills, but he has quick feet and impressive balance, considering his taller frame. He also caught the ball well, which is important because playing the ball in the air is his biggest weakness."
He also said that Kirkpatrick is behind Jenkins in man-coverage skills and ball skills.
As for one of the second-tier corners in the draft, McShay said South Carolina corner Stephon Gilmore helped his draft stock with impressive workouts.
"Gilmore's instincts are inconsistent, but he has the physical tools to earn a Day 2 (Rounds 2-3) grade. His showing at the combine could even entice a team into taking him late in the second round, although I'm not convinced he belongs that high."
You can also find more combine information and what scout Steve Muench thought of the SEC defensive backs Tuesday.