Jacksonville Jaguars strong safety Rayshawn Jenkins is good and bad. Let me explain.
Jenkins isn’t an outstanding football player, at least by NFL standards. He ranked 26th among 43 safeties in Sports Info Solution’s Total Points metric and 53rd among 64 players in Pro Football Focus defense grade last year.
#2 isn't the greatest deep coverage defender.
October 15, 2021
Jenkins showed great hustle against the Colts in Week 2, but that hustle was also used against him on the biggest play of the game by Indianapolis.
Jenkins had two immediate tackles on Dulin on in-breaking routes on the same drive— Gus Logue (@gus_logue) September 24, 2022
Dulin burned him later on a nice play call pic.twitter.com/amID7DDEPB
Jenkins was the first domino to fall in Jacksonville’s Trent Baalke-era free agency spree. The former Charger signed a four-year, $35 million contract in March 2021, making him one of the highest-paid players at his position at the time.
However, with no guaranteed salary remaining on his contract past 2022, and considering his middling play on the field, Jenkins is a potential cut candidate next offseason. It’d be tough to release a starter, but signing home-grown players like James Robinson and Josh Allen should take priority.
With added talent and new coaching, Jenkins has already matched his amount of passes defended and quarterback hits from a season ago. This interception on Jacksonville’s first defensive drive against the Colts was his first since 2020.
No-Fly Zone @Jenkz_26 | #DUUUVAL#INDvsJAX on CBS pic.twitter.com/N499ov9UT9— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) September 18, 2022
Jenkins got schemed up on the deep ball to Dulin, but he played with his hair on fire throughout the fourth quarter to secure Jacksonville’s shutout.
Some great fourth quarter plays by 2 pic.twitter.com/p48OrebijM— Gus Logue (@gus_logue) September 24, 2022
All the stuff I’ve written about so far has been things that I saw on one screen, then put on another, so you can see on your own screen.
Jenkins’ biggest benefit to the team isn’t shown by numbers or film, but by the embroidered “C” on his chest. He’s been a team captain each of the two years he’s donned teal despite playing for two different coaching staffs. In other words, he’s a great value to locker room.
“We’re looking to get more.”@Jenkz_26 played like a man possessed today! pic.twitter.com/p4HLlWj5hC— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) September 18, 2022
Here you can see him run to get a turnover chain for second-year player and fellow starting safety Andre Cisco after his fourth-quarter interception.
OCHO CISCO@andrecisco7 | #DUUUVAL#INDvsJAX on CBS pic.twitter.com/POw1a2qG40— Jacksonville Jaguars (@Jaguars) September 18, 2022
As previously mentioned, Jenkins was the first free agent to receive a bag from Baalke. He was also the first of many players that were clearly targeted for what they bring to the team behind the scenes.
He earned lofty expectations with his pay day, but now that he and the rest of the roster have reinforcements from the 2021 offseason, Jenkins is shining within his role. The Baalke-Pederson partnership is off to a promising start.