Hogs Haven has a bit of a profile of Washington Redskins rookie linebacker Brandon Jenkins, and this jumped out at me because Jenkins was a player Mike Shanahan brought up when I was in Shanahan's office last week talking about this year's defense. Shanahan believes Jenkins can be a help to the pass rush right away as a standup outside linebacker in the team's 3-4 defense. He said Jenkins "looks like an excellent pass-rusher," and sounded as though he'd been more impressed than he expected to be during the offseason workout program. Jenkins is coming off a foot injury that ended his final season at Florida State, but he was able to participate in offseason workouts for the Redskins. Here's what Hogs Haven says:
Jenkins will have to compete with an already very talented group of outside linebackers for playing time this season. It’s tough to imagine him starting a game with Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, and Rob Jackson ahead of him on the depth chart as long as they are healthy. Because of the devastating nature of his injury, Jenkins may not be healthy enough to play at the beginning of the 2013 season, although his health is improving. He could end up being red-shirted his rookie year and have to focus on getting healthy.
Possible, but it didn't sound that way to me when I was in Ashburn. As for the issue of reps, yes, clearly Orakpo and Kerrigan are the starters at outside linebacker, and the defense is built to help those guys get to the quarterback. But Jackson showed enough as a pass-rusher while filling in for the injured Orakpo last year that the team was already working on ways to use him either as part of a rotation or get him on the field with those two in passing downs -- basically creative ways to make sure he got to continue to contribute. With Jackson suspended for the first four games of the year, it's possible that someone like Jenkins or former Eagle Darryl Tapp could factor into the pass-rush plans early in the season -- even with Orakpo back and fully operational.