In our annual 32 picks in 32 days CSNPhilly.com mock draft, we select one player each day until the start of the NFL draft on April 26.
31. Patriots: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama, 5-10193
The Patriots' defense was a mess in 2011, ranking 31st overall in total yards (6,577) and passing yards (4,703) allowed. Of course, pass defense is a team effort, and the Pats' pass rush has lost 20 of its 40 sacks from last season with the departure of Mark Anderson (10 sacks) to Buffalo and currently unsigned status of Andre Carter (10). The Pats began to address their lack of pass rushers with Whitney Mercilus at No. 27 and now turn to a secondary in need.
Their 2010 rookie sensation, CB Devin McCourty, came back to earth in 2011. And Eagles cast-off Kyle Arrington isn't fast enough to remain on the outside. Second-year CB Ras-I Dowling's injury woes from college followed him into the pros, and he can't be counted on in 2011 either. An anchor in the secondary is needed.
Janoris Jenkins, a much-maligned player for his litany of off-the-field transgressions, is perhaps the best shutdown corner in the draft, and that includes LSU's Morris Claiborne. The Patriots primarily play a press zone, and Jenkins' ability to read routes and break on the ball is outstanding -- think Asante Samuel good.
In man-to-man, Jenkins is feisty and has the deep speed to stay with elite receivers. His size isn't ideal, but he plays physical and is capable of battling bigger receivers. Here are some highlights of Jenkins playing Alabama's Julio Jones and Georgia's A.J. Green.
Against the run, Jenkins is a willing tackler and was used to blitz during his first three years of college ball at Florida. He doesn't back down.
Of course teams are going to have to take a leap of faith with Jenkins. He got kicked out of Florida after three arrests -- two for marijuana possession, and one for an altercation that led to him being tasered by police. He enrolled in Division II North Alabama so he didn't have to sit out a year in 2011. Jenkins also has four children with three different women.
Normally, this isn't a Patriot-type pick, but Belichick runs a tight ship, and the team is veteran-heavy. If players like Vince Wilfork, Tom Brady and Brian Waters can keep Jenkins on the straight and narrow, they may have the next Champ Bailey on their hands.
E-mail Jared Sherman at email@example.com