The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have many needs going into the 2019 season. As the Draft inches closer, one of the most pressing needs is undoubtedly the right guard position. Last year the Bucs drafted guard Alex Cappa. But Cappa struggled to adjust to the NFL game, and so former UCLA tackle Caleb Benenoch took over. But Benenoch struggled too, and is likely to see a reserve role in 2019. So that leaves the biggest question mark on the roster - who is going to play right guard?
Elgton Jenkins’ Career
Jenkins, a former three-star recruit from Mississippi in the class of 2014, committed to the in-state Bulldogs of Mississippi State. He redshirted his freshman year, and played in eleven games in 2015 as a redshirt freshman, starting three. In 2016 he played in twelve games, starting five. In his junior and senior seasons Jenkins started all 13 games both years. As for his accolades? Well, lets let his Mississippi State profile speak for itself:
Earned first-team All-America honors from The Athletic and fourth-team honors from Phil Steele … Played 773 total snaps, including 369 in pass protection, according to Pro Football Focus … Did not allow a sack through the first nine games of the season … Surrendered zero QB hits and only six total pressures … Committed just one penalty … Tied for the SEC lead in fewest total pressures allowed (6) among centers who played at least 200 pass-blocking snaps … Earned a pass-blocking grade of 80.0 or better from PFF in seven different games, including four times in SEC action ... Earned the third-best overall PFF grade (74.1) in the SEC among centers who played a minimum of 770 snaps … His 74.1 overall grade was his highest since 2015 when he finished with a 73.1 grade … Collected the second-highest PFF pass-blocking grade (84.8) in the conference among centers … Finished as one of only four centers in the SEC who did not allow a QB hit over at least 350 snaps played in pass protection … Led an offensive line that helped the offense rank second in the SEC in both rushing yards per game (223.6) and yards per rush (5.7)
Jenkins has pretty good size with a wide frame. He has good hand placement, technique, and pad level. Those allow him to anchor against power rushers. Jenkins is also a smart player with a high football IQ, able to pick up stunt games and blitzes well, and has good body control. He looks smooth against pass rushers. Jenkins is also well-versed in multiple positions along the offensive line. As a freshman and sophomore Jenkins saw reserve snaps at both tackle spots, guard, and started at center.
Here’s Jenkins’ athletic profile:
If you subscribe to a 7.75 3cone time and 4.75 short shuttle time as benchmarks for good play at the position, you can see that Jenkins just misses the 3cone time and is good on the 20 yard shuttle. He gets to the second level well and reaches defenders in space.
In the NFL drive blocking is important to create movement in the run game, but that’s an area Jenkins will probably struggle with. For his size and what looks like good athleticism on paper, Jenkins will probably be an average athlete at the NFL level. He also doesn’t have the play aggressiveness and nasty disposition you’d ideally like to see. That means really aggressive or talented defensive linemen will give him problems.
Why The Buccaneers Need Him
Jenkins was a good college player and will likely be at least an average player at the next level. The Bucs have a major need at right guard and Jenkins fits the bill, filling what is the largest hole on the roster. They absolutely need someone like Jenkins.
Will It Happen?
It might! Jenkins might be best suited as a center at the next level, and the Bucs already have one in Ryan Jensen. But with his versatility, Jenkins could definitely be an option in the 2nd round.