A.J. Jenkins, WR, Illinois
6-foot, 190 pounds
Draft projection: Second or third round
Lowdown: After a decent, 56-catch junior season, Jenkins was not viewed as a high-round draft prospect entering the 2011 college season. However, he blossomed into a star for the Illini, catching 90 passes for 1,276 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 14.6 yards a catch. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he ran a 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds and had a good vertical jump of 38 1-2 inches. Those numbers peg him as a legitimate stretch-the-field prospect. There are no worries about his hands, either; they’re excellent. He needs polish as a route-runner. While his 40 time is elite, he’s not quite the burner, say, a Lee Evans was in college. Jenkins is a native of Jacksonville, Fla. Jenkins would be a steal of a third round for a team like the Buffalo Bills. However, he might even go in the top 40 picks, based on the view of him as a "riser" by draftniks.
(The News is profiling 50 prospects in 50 days leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft.)