Janoris Jenkins is widely viewed as one of the top cover corners in this month's draft, but an array of off-the-field issues have some NFL teams weary.
NFL Network's Albert Breer painted a disturbing picture Thursday of Jenkins' continued drug use after he was dismissed from Florida and migrated to Div. II North Alabama last season.
"They gave him every chance in the world at Florida, and it didn't work," one NFC personnel executive told Breer. "And he gets to North Alabama, and he's still smoking because he's got this big-fish, little-pond thing going. I don't see him going in the first round, and a lot of teams have him off their board completely."
Despite his off-field issues (a trio of arrests, positive drug tests and four children with three women) Jenkins remains intriguing to scouts for his work at Florida against big-name receivers. A.J. Green caught only seven passes in two games against Jenkins and Julio Jones was kept to six catches for 47 yards in two meetings. NFL Network's Charley Casserly recently called Jenkins a better man-to-man cover guy than either South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore or Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick.
"I went back and watched half a dozen games when he was at Florida," Casserly said on the positive side. "This guy can press, he can mirror off the press, he can mirror and trail and break, backpedal. He's quick, he's explosive out of it. ... You can see him do all the things you want to see him do to play man coverage, and he can play zone.
"... It's the rest of the story that's going to cost him draft spots," Casserly said, noting that Jenkins could fall out of the first round because it's hard to recall another player in the draft with such a notorious rap sheet.
One AFC scout told Breer: "He's not a bad person. He just makes a lot of dumb, dumb mistakes. He just smokes and (has sex), and that's essentially what it is. ... And there's just awful decision-making associated with that. I don't think he's a bad person. But he has a lot of soul-searching to do. I wouldn't touch him in the first round."
Breer pointed to Vikings receiver Percy Harvin and Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez as former Florida players testing positive before the draft. It's not just Florida's problem, and we've seen troubled players go on to productive careers. With Jenkins, it's the diversity of the issues that has scouts running in the other direction. If you bring him in, you have to consider your coaching staff, your locker room, your team's reputation. This is what scouts are toying with today.