Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins, whom most people have the Packers picking with their No. 9 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, may have ran himself out of that spot with his performance at the 2009 NFL Combine. Jenkins underwhelmed scouts with his speed, which was measured between 4.52 and 4.59 in the 40-yard dash. ESPN/Scouts, Inc.’s Todd McShay said today on NFL Live that Jenkins could be more suited to play safety in the NFL, a position the Packers are already set at.
Why is speed such an important commodity for the Packers? Well with the switch from the 4-3 defense to the 3-4 defense, the duties of the cornerbacks change. In Dom Capers‘ new scheme, the corners are expected to play more zone and help in run support, as opposed to the in-your-face man-to-man that typified Bob Sanders‘ 4-3 defense in the past. The Packers will need their corners to be able to range quickly to cover their zone and to get up to the line quickly for run support.
There is too much emphasis on speed at the combine, I’ll definitely admit that. I mean, on the field, you aren’t going to be able to get down into your sprinter’s stance in your shorts and skin-tight shirt and track shoes and take off running. You’re going to be wearing pads and in some cases holding a football. That shows some part of how these times are inaccurate, but there is some merit to it. Aaron Curry, the top linebacking prospect in the draft ran in the 4.5s. Jenkins, thought to be the top cornerback prospect, ran in the 4.5s. Now, based on that, which one would you take? I’d definitely go with Curry.
Vontae Davis of Illinois moved himself up, showing up Jenkins by running a 4.49. Could the Packers reach for Davis at No. 9? Most likely not. I don’t even see the Packers going with Jenkins at No. 9 even if he had run well. The Packers have Al Harris, Charles Woodson, and Tramon Williams as quality corners. It’s hard to get three quality corners in this league, and with more youth behind them, adding Jenkins could just create a problem.
Look for the Packers to go defensive line or offensive line. More on this tomorrow…