Reporting Grant Paulsen
The Redskins drafted 12 players in April. In the several weeks since, eleven of them have attended at least one of Washington’s two player-run mini camps. Clemson defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins, a 2nd-rounder selected with the 41st pick in the 2011 draft, has been the lone no-show.
Rumors were circulating that Jenkins’ agent had advised him not to attend the Redskins’ May workouts because he doesn’t yet have a contract and he’d be risking an injury. The 315-pound, run-stuffer was a guest on 106.7 The Fan over the weekend and he refuted that speculation.
“That wasn’t true at all,” Jenkins told me on Sunday afternoon. “When we first started the first workout, that’s when I actually first started summer school. My agent’s not really going to play for me, he’s not making any decisions for me at all, that was a personal decision for me.”
Seeing the lockout as an opportunity to get closer to a degree he’s less than a semester’s worth of credits from completing, Jenkins decided to take summer classes during the work stoppage.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to [take classes over the summer] because I didn’t know how long the lockout was going to. I made that decision last-minute, I just signed up and went to work going to class. So that rumor’s not true at all.”
Jenkins says he will attend the Redskins’ next workout.
“I’ll most definitely be there. Summer school is out of the way. My plan is to come up there on the 25th just to get a feel of the city. I’ve been there once but I’m going to come back up there .. a couple days before we have to go down to Florida for the rookie symposium held by the NFL P.A”
A 6-foot-4 lineman who played defensive tackle in college, Jenkins projects best to the defensive end position in Washington’s 3-4 scheme. He could end up playing some nose tackle as well, especially if the Redskins aren’t able to upgrade their depth at that position in free agency.
“I’m hearing defensive end by I’m ready for anything,” the 23-year-old senior told The Fan. “I can play the nose, I can play anything. I’m very versatile. That’s probably one reason why they drafted me, because they’ve seen I can be versatile in different positions. I’m ready for whatever. Whatever they want me to play, I’ll be ready to play it.”
While he hasn’t had the chance to acquire a playbook or ask questions of his new coaches, Jenkins says he’s been preparing himself for his inaugural NFL training camp by studying Washington’s defensive scheme. The South Carolina native has a growing knowledge of the responsibilities of both defensive line spots along the Redskins’ front.
“If you’re playing nose guard, it’s kind of a different role. You’ve got to actually hold your point. As far as the way the Redskins play their defense, there’s more two-gapping with the nose guard, you can actually go left and right a little bit.”
As for playing end?
“You actually have a specific gap you have to stay in.. If you’re at nose, you actually have to be more physical because you can get triple-teamed or double-teamed.”
Jenkins knows that playing up front in a 3-4 defense isn’t glamorous. But the Clemson product is okay with that.
“That’s one thing you have to be ready for if you’re playing nose guard, you’re not going to make many plays, you’ve just got to be the dirty guy. That’s one main thing I’m not going to complain about. I’m not a guy that likes attention. If I get attention that’s good, but I’m just a guy that wants to win.”
With almost two months having come and gone since he was drafted, Jenkins — and every other rookie who heard their name called during the NFL’s three-day event — is still waiting for an opportunity to report to his new team’s headquarters. In the mean time he’s working out five days a week on his college campus.
He lifts from 9 to 11 am each morning, attends classes for two hours each afternoon, then he reports back to the athletic facility to work on his agility and conditioning every evening.
“It’s kind of weird because it just hit reality I got drafted by the Redskins and now I’m sitting here. It’s like ‘what’s next.’”
When the lockout ends Jenkins will likely have a chance to win the starting defensive end spot opposite Adam Carriker. But for now all the space-eating, run-stuffing Jay Z fan can do is wait.
“I haven’t even talked to any coaches, I don’t know what position I’m playing, I don’t know what number I’m wearing. I’ve got to sit and hope and wait till that day comes so I can figure out more information about my future.”