The Los Angeles Chargers used their fourth-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft on Miami safety Rayshawn Jenkins.
Safety was a position of need going into the draft and many fans hoped the team would be able to get a player like Jamal Adams or Malik Hooker in the first round. Instead, the team waited until the fourth round to address the position, selecting Jenkins.
Even though it was in the fourth round, it sure seemed like the Chargers had gotten a steal. Jenkins was big, fast and strong. The Chargers were getting a physical, athletic defender. He looked tailor made for a defense led by Gus Bradley.
However, Jenkins’ rookie season was a quiet one.
He was primarily used for special teams and though he played in 15 of the team’s 16 games, he managed just 13 tackles on the year. Defensively, he saw just 76 snaps (or 7.25 percent of the team’s defensive snaps) according to Pro Football Reference.
With Tre Boston playing well for the team at free safety, it was difficult for Jenkins to push his way into the lineup. Jahleel Addae rarely came off the field and Adrian Phillips played his way into a more prominent role on the team.
That left Jenkins as a spectator for most of the season. The most defensive snaps he saw in one game was 18 against the Buffalo Bills and that is because that game was well in hand early.
Jenkins also had a bit of a penalty problem. According to nflpenalties.com, he committed five penalties on the year, including two unnecessary roughness fouls and one for roughing the kicker.
Rayshawn Jenkins with another costly ST penalty. Hes had more negatives than positives so far this season
— Garrett Sisti (@GarrettSisti) November 12, 2017
He’ll have to clean that up.
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Bradley does seem to an affinity for Jenkins, however, and he has plenty of room to grow in his second year. In addition, both Boston and Phillips are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this offseason and it will say a lot about what the Chargers think of Jenkins when they make their decisions on those two players. I would expect the team to re-sign at least one of those guys.
But when considering Jenkins’ rookie grade, the things mentioned above have to be factored in. He committed some bad penalties and quite frankly, he wasn’t good enough to get on the field enough.
It’s too early to say that the selection of Jenkins was a bad one, but it is fair to say that the team was fortunate to get a guy like Desmond King, who will be the subject of my next rookie report card, in the very next round.