The New Orleans Saints had one of the most dominant offensive lines in the league during the 2018 season. They often simply bullied opponents, and imposed their will early on in contests while establishing the tone of a game. The Saints protected their future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees like a newborn baby, allowing him to get sacked only 17 times (his fewest since 2008) and often letting him easily survey the secondary untouched. They also paved the way for a top-10 rushing attack that led the NFL in rushing touchdowns and averaged well over 4 yards per carry. Veteran center Max Unger retired this offseason however, and versatile left guard Andrus Peat, who carries a 9.6 million dollar cap hit this season, will be an unrestricted free agent at year's end. The New Orleans coaches feel confident that Cameron Tom and Will Clapp can provide interior competition, and signed free agent Nick Easton this offseason. The Saints may choose to upgrade their interior line through the draft, and today we profile a player who could provide instant starter's potential.
Elgton Jenkins, C/G (Mississippi St.)
Jenkins chose to attend Mississippi State after earning all-state honors at Clarksdale (MS) High School. He began his career with the Bulldogs as an offensive tackle, where he started a combined eight games in his redshirt freshman and sophomore years on the outside. By the end of his sophomore campaign, his coaches had moved him inside to guard, and he opened the 2017 season as the Bulldogs starting center. Jenkins anchored the Mississippi State line, starting 25 of 26 games at center over his final two seasons, largely against the powerful defensive fronts of the S.E.C. conference.
Jenkins turned in a solid performance at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, finishing in the top ten among linemen in numerous events and likely solidifying himself as one of the first few interior linemen off the board.
Bench Press = 29 reps
Vertical jump = 28 inches
Broad jump = 109 inches
3-cone drill = 7.77
20-yd shuttle = 4.62
Graham Glasgow (Lions)
Elgton Jenkins has both the size and strength to handle defensive linemen at the NFL level. He has a fast transition into his blocking stance from snap, and gets his hands up quickly for good placement. Jenkins has extremely impressive upper body strength, even able to maintain position when knocked off balance. He gets good movement at the point of attack in the run game, driving defenders to the second level. Jenkins sets a powerful base as a pass blocker and stonewalls bull rushers in their tracks, while possessing quick enough feet and upper body movement to fend off finesse moves. He has good recognition of the "MIKE" linebacker to make the necessary blocking adjustments for his line, and the football IQ to run a line capably.
Jenkins doesn't showcase great athleticism in space, and isn't quick getting outside on screen plays. His footwork is suitable, but struggles with lateral movement and can be delayed in reacting to delayed blitzers.
Elgton Jenkins is projected to be a day 2 selection, and has the capability to be an instant starter for the team that drafts him. He has the versatility to play any of the line spots, but will be a center or perhaps a guard at the pro level. Jenkins has incredible strength and the solid technique to be a success in any system. He sets up an impressive wall in pass protection, and gets a push in the run game while dominating the point of attack. He excelled against the highest level of competition in the S.E.C., and has the rare physicality and style traits to win his battles with NFL defensive tackles one on one.