Round 4 – No. 104 (overall)
Jelani Jenkins, LB
Height: 6’0″ – Weight: 243 lbs.
Age: 21 – Class: Junior (redshirt)
The third day of the 2013 NFL Draft got started relatively quickly for former Florida Gators as linebacker Jelani Jenkins was snatched off the list of available players by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 104 overall pick in the fourth round.
Jenkins, who left school a season early in order to try his luck in the draft, was chosen relatively high considering how much time he has missed in his collegiate career due to injury. Though his athleticism has never been a question, the numerous injuries he has suffered gave some NFL teams pause.
Miami was obviously undeterred, believing Jenkins’s speed and coverage ability were worth using its first third-day pick to acquire. Jenkins is the 11th former Gators player selected by the Dolphins in the draft and joins center Mike Pouncey (No. 15, 2011) on the team’s current roster. He is the first linebacker chosen by Miami since Channing Crowder (No. 70, 2005), second all-time.
“I think I tackle real well and I also cover real well. Those are both things that I know I’m going to get better at as time goes by more so,” Jenkins said. “I think I have a lot of ability. I have a lot of hope for the future knowing I’m going to get better. I’m looking forward to that.”
Jenkins suffered thumb, hamstring and foot injuries in 2012 and only registered 29 tackles (19 solo, five for loss) with two sacks and an interception as a redshirt junior. He averaged 75.5 tackles in the previous two seasons, combining for 10.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and seven pass defenses from 2010-2011.
The selection of Jenkins marked the fifth for Florida this season, the first time the Gators have had that many players selected since 2010 (nine).