2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Miami S Rayshawn Jenkins

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Rayshawn Jenkins/S Miami (FL) – 6’1 214

The Good

– Huge hitter, throws his whole body into every hit, intense and physical demeanor who looks to hurt you
– Tackling angle is good, doesn’t raise up too high when he leaves his feet, avoids the head/neck area
– Takes good angles to the ball coming downhill and closes quickly
– Comes to balance as a tackler, shoulders over toes, and makes him reliable, not just a big hitter
– Shows ability to play in man coverage over the Y and looked serviceable playing single high, not deficient playing in any one area/coverage
– Reads his keys, good football IQ and feel for where routes will break
– Tough guy who plays through injuries, admire his attitude
– Played in Butler/LeBeau like system with similar concepts, should ease transition
– Lots of starting experience

The Bad

– Doesn’t always bring his arms as a tackler and needs to keep his head up, causes him to fall off backs who are his size or bigger
– Only average foot speed and can be late getting to spot in deep half of cover 2
– Best suited as box safety
– Slight medical history to check out
– Didn’t have statistically gaudy numbers


– Three year starter, 33 in all
– Career: 201 tackles, 9 INTs, 8 TFL, 0 FFs
– 2016: 76 tackles, 4.5 TFL 2 INTs
– Ran a 4.51, jumped 37 inches, 10’8” at the Combine
– QB/WR/DB in high school
– Ran track in high school, section champion in 110 meter hurdles
– Missed entire 2014 season with chronic lower back injury, missed a month of high school senior season with a fractured rib

Tape Breakdown

If you want the in-house comparison, a Ryan Clark or Mike Mitchell selection is a pretty good option. But out-of-house, I really dig the comp of Clayton Geathers, the mid-round selection of the Indianapolis Colts two years ago.

Jenkins sacrifices his body like Mitchell and he’ll wreck your day with one big hit. He’ll patrol the short to intermediate middle to make receivers second-guess if they really want to enter his airspace and he’ll come down aggressively against the run to make the tackle or put that final jolt into a running back.

And again, this time, in coverage.

But he has a strong football IQ and reads his keys well. Even in a tough spot like playaction on the goal line, he doesn’t overcommit and then has the feel to know where the route is breaking behind him, get to his spot, and pick the pass off. Super impressive. There isn’t time to slow down, look back, get to the receiver. That’s tape study and tendency. And makes me really like this kid.

Predictably, he’ll miss some tackles and fall off when he isn’t bringing his arms or doesn’t keep his head up. But overall, I like his form and he shows the ability to come to balance. Shoulders over chest, chest over toes.

Watching safetys are always tough because they fall off screen in the TV tape but it looks like Jenkins screwed up here. Didn’t get to his spot in Cover 2 and allowed #1 down the sideline for a huge gain.

Though I don’t see a big need to nab a safety this year, especially with so many other positions to focus on, I really like Jenkins. I think he could match up on tight ends as a hybrid/box safety in a Patrick Chung-sense because he has size, physicality, and experience in man coverage. It’s harder to envision his future role because he’s definitely a strong safety, not free, and Sean Davis has that spot locked down, unless the team moves him (which is possible).

But it’s not like Jenkins is a first round pick. If all he ever is is that sub-package guy for Pittsburgh, I think he can definitely start as a SS if he goes somewhere with a more friendly path, that’s totally worth it from a mid-rounder. Again, very reminiscent to Geathers who was drafted with the 109th pick of the 2014 draft. And I think Jenkins follows suit.

Projection: Early Day Three

Games Watched: vs Georgia Tech, vs Florida State, vs UNC, vs Pittsburgh, Senior Bowl

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick MahomesKareem HuntEvan Engram
Derek RiversRyan AndersonJoshua DobbsJordan LeggettSamaje Perine
Corn ElderBucky HodgesJames ConnerCooper KuppStanley Williams
Fred RossJamaal WilliamsGeorge KittleEjuan PriceChris Wormley
Jeremy McNicholsJoe MathisDerek BarnettAmba Etta-TawoGareon Conley
Taco Charlton Elijah McGuireRyan SwitzerTanoh KpassagnonTre’Davious White
Brian HillMatthew DayesDonnel PumphreyJosh ReynoldsNazair Jones
De’Veon SmithDavis WebbObi MelifonwuTJ WattJohn Ross
Jerod EvansVince BiegelJosh CarrawayJosh MaloneKevin King
Fadol BrownChris GodwinNate GerryJordan WillisStacy Coley
Zay JonesJimmie GilbertGlen AntoineTarell BashamDuke Riley

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Phil Brenneman II

    If he is mainly another box guy I don’t think I would be interested. Every safety we have is a box guy and it is time we go get a true FS. Like I said, if we want to give Mitchell another year so be it, the new guy can play in sub packages while he waits to take over.

  • Alex Kozora

    That’s sorta the problem with a true FS though. They usually aren’t going to give you enough in run support to be someone who can live near the LOS…which is why I keep liking these strong safety types.

  • Bill Sechrengost

    Thanks Alex. I’ve been looking forward to some safety profiles. I realize that isn’t a major need for them. I do like Jenkins, though. Would like to see a few more like Marcus Williams from Utah or John Johnson from Boston College. They are more free safety-type safeties.

  • Spencer Krick

    If the Steelers are looking for a hybrid guy, I think Jenkins here would be a solid mid round option. He looks like a good fit for Nickel/Dime packages. Did he play the slot at all?

  • Alex Kozora

    He did play over #2 a couple times though he isn’t a “true” slot option.

  • Spencer Krick

    Does that mean he’s just not built for it?

  • Phil Brenneman II

    You make a fair point, but are you talking about short term until they replace Mitchell or just overall? I guess ultimately where I stand is that I am willing to sacrifice a little bit of tackling/run support for a true game changing safety who makes QB’s have to find them.

    Think of it like this, Mitchell isn’t exactly the most sure tackler so we are already sacrificing somewhat on that level, without the added benefit of a great deep cover guy. Obviously the ideal would be to get a perfect combination but how likely is that?

    And speaking of such things Alex, have you taken a look at Marcus Williams yet? I chose him in my mock and as I make sure to point out that was just based off of what is on paper, so I always like to hear from someone who is looking at the tape and what not. I know last year I fell in love with Mackensie Alexander and after seeing one of you break him down I cooled off on him.

  • Alex Kozora

    It’s not ideal. He’s not quick twitch enough.

  • falconsaftey43

    FS can get on the field early in sub package by playing the FS spot and letting either Mitchel or Davis play in the box as that “hybrid” guy. Then can replace Mitchel as the starting FS down the road.

  • Superdriller316

    Add Josh Jones to the list.

  • Alex Kozora

    Mitchell definitely isn’t moving into that role. And I want to keep Davis where he’s at..he’s been moved enough already. It’s like moving two OL to fix one spot. Too much meddling.

  • Alex Kozora

    I am talking about the short-term. Long-term, sure, I get the idea, but I’m against taking a pure FS this year because plain ‘ol safety depth is really good (Mitchell/Davis/Golden/Dangerfield).

    Haven’t watched Williams. Heard a lot of good things about him though.

  • Spencer Krick

    Right on

  • Applebite

    Jenkins would’ve been a 2nd-3rd rd pick in some drafts…I like him, but there’s so many others to like just as much, if not more.

    Josh Jones (N.C. State) comes to mind…

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I don’t know if guys like this,who launch themselves at people instead of tackling, are viable in the NFL anymore with the way the rules are now.

  • Alan Tman

    I might try to move Mitchell for this guy. Then him and Davis could be a good tandem for years.