Writers of all kinds are always looking for the perfect story. In sports, the perfect story needs two things: a star player and controversy.For that reason, some thought they had hit the jackpot during the 2012 NFL draft. Typically draft coverage centers around the stars at the top, with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III that was the case in 2012, but there was one player who ultimately went in the second round who was a writer’s dream.
On the field, analysts saw him as a superstar, off of it, reporters could constantly point to different aspects of his college life that could be perceived as controversial. Whether it was for his family life, his drug usage, his multiple arrests or his dismissal from the Florida football team, Janoris Jenkins was put under more scrutiny than any other 2012 draft prospect. That scrutiny was enough to push him down in the draft, but his talent was such that he wouldn’t be allowed to fall too far. Unlike Justin Houston, who fell from the first round to the third previously, Jenkins’ talents kept him close to the first round as he went 39th overall.
Just as he had done with Adam Jones, Jeff Fisher took a chance on Jenkins and looked to use him extensively during his rookie season. In fact, Jenkins would start from Week 1 and play 15 games during his rookie year.
Although Morris Claiborne and Stephon Gilmore were taken early in the first round, much of the talk during the season was about Jenkins. Obviously his story off the field created intrigue that carried over into the regular season, but Jenkins also had a nose for finding the football, which put the spotlight on him regularly. He announced himself with an interception early on in his first game against the Detroit Lions, before later returning his three other interceptions for touchdowns and recovering a fumble against the San Francisco 49ers for a touchdown.
Timing was huge for Jenkins. His first touchdown shaped his early season perception, while making the biggest play of the Rams’ biggest game of the season made most presume that he had played that way all season long. Alas, turnovers don’t determine how good a defensive back really is. Unless of course they can create many more than the four that Jenkins did and on a year-to-year basis. Continue reading