A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
Weight: 190 lbs
40 Yrd Dash: 4.39 sec
225 Lb. Bench: 12 reps
Vertical Jump: 38-1/2″
Broad Jump: 10’04″
Watch his combine workout here
2006 was the last time the Lions went through a draft without selecting a wide receiver and the Lions figure to always keep a stable full of horses for Matthew Stafford to target. The Lions are set with Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Titus Young as their top three receivers but they can still add depth. Their pursuit of Ted Ginn Jr. lends credence to the thought that a wide receiver could be in this year’s draft plans and A.J. Jenkins is the top receiver that the Lions have shown interest in through this draft cycle.
A.J. Jenkins is no stranger to football fan in Big Ten country from his time at Illinois. He finished his career as the school’s third leading receiver in terms of catches, yards and touchdowns. A big senior season earned Jenkins First-Team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and media and a spot as a semi-finalist for the Biletnikoff Award.
The Lions love versatile players and Jenkins seems to fit that bill. He is speedy enough to stretch the field on the outside and willing to work underneath routes with a knack for finding open space. He does a good job catching the ball with his hands as opposed to his body and is capable of making the highlight reel catches. He strikes me as a great prospect for giving the Lions one of the deepest receiving corps in the league in 2012 while ensuring the team has a dynamic top three when Nate Burleson’s career comes to a close.
A lot is made of the adjustment college quarterbacks in spread systems have to make to the NFL game but wide receivers that play in spread offenses have adjustments to make as well. He didn’t face much man-press coverage in college so he’ll have to get used to playing with a defender in his face and he could use some refinement in his route running. Neither is a huge red flag, especially for a player that is reportedly very coachable.
Jenkins will draw consideration on draft boards starting in the second round and figures to get a strong look from the Lions if he is still available into the middle rounds.