While we're hopefully very far from seeing the full fruit that drafting Malcolm Jenkins in the first round will bear, I truly believe the Saints hit a massive home run with this guy. According to Mike Triplett's twitter page, Malcolm Jenkins was the lone player to show up to work the very day the lockout was lifted. At just 23 years of age, Jenkins just continually shows the work ethic, maturity and drive to improve at his new position: starting free safety on the New Orleans Saints.
This is just another small example in a slew of them, where Jenkins has showcased his class and commitment to greatness. Remember when the guy was a contract hold out? He moved to New Orleans (unlike Reggie Bush who hung out in California) and worked out every day waiting for the phone call from his agent for the go-ahead to show up at practice. Once he got that call, he was there within minutes. Just following his twitter page you can get a good feel for what he's like - a genuinely good guy that's fully committed to his family, religion and team. He reminds me of someone else I think highly of.Jenkins' prowess on the football field is still a bit of a work in progress, but no one can deny he had an incredibly promising season last year. After being moved to free safety from the cornerback position, a position he had played his whole life, he more than held his own. His major highlights were his two interceptions (both came against the Rams, including that 96-yard touchdown runback), and that memorable forced fumble against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving that set up a victory in the most unlikely of ways. He was also fourth on the team in tackles and tied with Jabari Greer for the team lead in passes defended. Malcolm Jenkins is the main reason that Darren Sharper could easily be out of a job with the Saints this season. So who does he remind me of?
The comparisons are pretty remarkable when you think about it:
- Both played in the Big 10.
- Both extremely religious and put their family first.
- Both leaders vocally, but first and foremost they are leaders by example.
- Both seem like genuinely good character people.
- Both are humble.
- Both are Super Bowl Champions.
- Both saw their draft stock fall because they didn't have what it takes physically to compete in the NFL (with Brees it was size/arm strength, with Jenkins it was speed).
- Both play for the New Orleans Saints.
- Both are incredibly driven and work extremely hard to get better, harder than anyone else.
Jenkins showing up at the Saints' facility when no one else did is just another example of his ethic. Brees may be at a different place now because of his involvement first hand in the labor disputes, but at 23 he would have done the exact same thing. And I also believe Jenkins at 31 will be a league spokesperson based on the respect he commands from his peers.
Believe me when I say this: we're merely scratching the surface with respect to just how good he'll become. When his legacy is done, I'll be shocked if it's not every bit as remarkable as Darren Sharper's, if not better.