Sep 3, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive back Rayshawn Jenkins (26) upends Florida A&M Rattlers tight end Alonzo Palmer-Hicks (17) during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Chargers defensive backs coach Ron Milus believes the Chargers found a gem when they drafted safety Rayshawn Jenkins in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Los Angeles Chargers received praise for their 2017 NFL Draft class. NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. even gave the Chargers the highest draft grade.
That was in large part because the Chargers got some help for veteran quarterback Philip Rivers.
But on the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers potentially shored up their weakest area on defense, the safety position, with the selections of safety Rayshawn Jenkins and corner/safety Desmond King.
Many fans were shocked to see King fall so far down the draft, as he was considered one of the better defensive back prospects. As for Jenkins, there were mixed reviews when his name was called in the fourth round.
But Chargers defensive backs coach Ron Milus, who’s been with the team since 2013, loved that the Chargers drafted Jenkins.
“That pick was a gem,” Milus told Chargers.com’s Ricky Henne. “I really like what he brings to the table. He’s another guy who plays with enthusiasm. He has a lot of confidence. On the field, he plays so smooth and cerebral. I’m really excited about his future. Once he understands everything we’re doing on our defense, I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
The former Miami Hurricane racked up 201 total tackles, 15 pass deflections and nine interceptions over his four-year career. The 6-foot-1, 214-pound safety is a rangy, fast, hard-hitting enforcer, and he should fit nicely in new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s 4-3 scheme. He showed off his athleticism at the NFL Scouting Combine, finishing as a top performer in three categories (broad jump, vertical and bench press) and running a solid 4.51 40-yard dash (sixth-best among safeties).
It won’t be easy to crack the starting lineup, though, as the Chargers have several players fighting for starting gigs. Jahleel Addae, who was given a four-year extension in the offseason, will be one of the Chargers’ starters.
But there’s no guarantees after that. Dwight Lowery, who will be in his second year as a Charger, Tre Boston, who recently signed with the Chargers on a one-year deal, along with Dexter McCoil and Adrian Phillips, both of whom saw playing time last season, will surely be given their opportunities.
All in all, the safety battle will be one to watch when training camp arrives.