Raiders go boom or bust with Jelani Jenkins

The Oakland Raiders have finally signed a defensive free agent, bringing in linebacker Jelani Jenkins from the Miami Dolphins. The signing attempts to address one of the biggest and most glaring holes on defense at linebacker. The position was already a weak point last season and with Malcolm Smith going to the Niners and Perry Riley still unsigned, it was in major need of help.

So will Jenkins bring the help that’s needed? Maybe. If he can stay healthy.

Jenkins is a young prospect at 25 years old but already has four years in the NFL under his belt. Unfortunately, thoe four years have not been all that great. Last season was hands down his worst year in the NFL as he battled a knee injury all year long and his performance on the field reflected it.

But the year before last he had a solid season and the year before that, a very good season. When healthy, Jenkins has flashed the potential to be a very good linebacker. He’s got the athleticism to be what the Raiders need in coverage and isn’t a liability in run defense. But most importantly, he’s seen as a guy who is capable of covering tight ends. And if you have watched any of the Raiders defense over the past two seasons you know how big of a deal that is.

When healthy, Jenkins exhibits the potential to be a very good player. He’s got great athleticism as well as strength and a nose for the ball. Looking at his sophomore season when he tallied 110 tackles, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles, you can see his potential to be a very good starting linebacker. But he’s also only been able to stay healthy for a full season of games once in his career and that stellar sophomore season looks more like the exception to the rule rather than the rule itself.

If healthy and playing at his best, Jenkins is a high caliber starter in the league. But when not healthy or off of his game, he’s a liability. The Raider need help at linebacker and Jenkins could be their savior or just another guy fans become frustrated with like Curtis Lofton or Malcolm Smith.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: