EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 21: Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Kris Jenkins (94) lines up for a snap during a college football game between the Michigan State Spartans and Michigan Wolverines on October 21, 2023 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, MI. (Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - OCTOBER 21: Michigan Wolverines defensive tackle Kris Jenkins (94) lines up for a snap during a college football game between the Michigan State Spartans and Michigan Wolverines on October 21, 2023 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, MI. (Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kris Jenkins Slides Down to Third Round

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HOUSTON, TX – JANUARY 08: Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Kris Jenkins (94) has his helmet display all of his accomplishments before the CFP National Championship game Michigan Wolverines and Washington Huskies on January 8, 2024, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by David Buono/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

I was higher on Michigan defensive tackle Kris Jenkins on his 2022 game film than I feel after evaluating his 2023 game film.

It seemed like he had a harder time getting freed up to make plays.

Please don’t get me wrong, Jenkins still gives it everything he has to give, just like he did in 2022.

It comes down to a proper valuation. Grading prospects is a huge responsibility. A grade has to be based on what the prospects put on film. That’s what expectations are framed around. Nothing sets prospects up to fail more than over-grading. Under-grading and a round-appropriate grade set the prospects up for success. It’s not hating to re-calibrate a grade on a prospect. It’s doing him a favor. Unmet expectations are the source of all human disappointment. I would rather err on the side of under-grading and build in room for development than over-grade and close that margin.

I did not get as excited about his 2023 game film ⎯bottom line. He looked softer.

What went south?

Jenkins had a harder time beating college offensive linemen in 2023. It looked like he had a harder time disengaging from blocks in pass-rushing situations.

His sack total went up from 2.0 sacks (2022) to 2.5 sacks (2023). Per Pro Football Focus, his quarterback hurries also slightly increased from 16 to 18.

Consistent

The other thing I noticed is while Jenkins has different pass-rush moves in his toolbox, he didn’t seem to use them as much in 2023. He also seemed to draw more attention and more double-teams.

Jenkins is a disciplined street-fighter with a high motor limited only by a lack of brute and explosive power. He’s a stunting, finesse gap shooter.

He carries 299 pounds exceptionally well on game film. He looks leaner than that.

Loves run defending

Jenkins plays the run as hard as he plays the pass. He gets after it, and at times he can disengage from blocks and get involved.

At other times, he gets locked up by blockers and despite his best effort, he gets stalemated.

This past season in 2023, Jenkins saw a drop in his run-stopping production going from 54 to 37 tackles for the Wolverines.

The thing that impressed me most about Jenkins (outside of his tackling technique) is his discipline. He stays true to his assignments. An NFL defensive coordinator can count on him being where the play is drawn up. Jenkins’ dad and uncle both played in the league and taught him well.

Where does Jenkins factor in?

He’s an ideal backup rotational player in a 4-3 (four defensive linemen, three linebackers) scheme in the NFL.

Any player who gives 100% moves the meter ⎯and that makes this Michigan defensive lineman a good selection at the proper valuation.

The third and fourth rounds are ‘developmental rounds,’ with the third round being for those who show more ‘upside.’

#94 Kris Jenkins 6-foot-3, 299 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s 2024 NFL Draft Grade: Third-Round (I wouldn’t select him)

Projected by 15.2% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of March 28, 2024 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

Kris Jenkins Moves the Meter (6 games evaluated)

2023 game film reviewed: Washington, Penn State, Alabama, Rutgers, and Ohio State (click to view games watched to form this evaluation)

Jenkins Combine Results

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report

High-effort try-hard backup with average disengage technique from blockers. High energy. Hits in with authority at the point of attack when rushing the passer. Flashed spin move. Looks to penetrate gaps. Mostly unimaginative pass rush attempts that were stonewalled after initial movement. Lacks polish. One gear speed. Doesn’t have that coveted short-area burst. Average bend and flexibility. Uses hands, but he’s inconsistent against the run. Either made the stop or ended up by the pile after the fact.

Final words

I walked away disappointed.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock, contributes at Yardbarker, and has written for Sports Illustrated Lions, Jets, and 49ers, as well as a featured guest on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. Follow on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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