The Miami Dolphins decided to go with a linebacker with their first fourth-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, as the Dolphins kept Florida Gators standout Jelani Jenkins in the Sunshine State by nabbing him with the 104th pick. Jenkins has great range, runs a forty in the 4.6s, and he is one of the smartest linebackers and defensive players as a whole in the 2013 NFL Draft class. Jenkins had great intangibles with the Florida Gators throughout this career, and he constitutes a solid pick for the Dolphins.
Jenkins’s pre-draft performance was hindered by a fractured right foot, so his forty time in the low 4.7s came in a little more than a step too slow. He is arguably the most skilled coverage linebacker in this draft class, so there is a chance that he might have been on the New England Patriots draft radar as well.
When healthy, Jenkins will be a solid linebacker for the Dolphins and fits in well as a 4-3 outside linebacker. His coverage ability could make him better suited for the weak-side of the formation, because he can cover running backs with ease. He can also play on the strong-side against tight ends, and I expect him to get significant playing time for the Dolphins in a sub-package role as a niche pass coverage guy. He brings other skills to the table as well, but Jenkins is best-fit as a pass coverage LB, and that’s the kind of specialist that is becoming more valuable in today’s passing league. This was a quality pick for the Dolphins, even if linebacker wasn’t a position of need for the Dolphins. The Dolphins, by the way, used their second fourth-round pick on Michigan State Spartans blocking TE Dion Sims, who is also developing his receiving game.
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