Could Elgton Jenkins replace Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley at center?
The New York Giants have a decision to make with regards to the middle of their offensive line. Jon Halapio is the kind of young man coaches love, and physically he fits the mold of what the Giants seem to want in an offensive lineman. However, he didn’t inspire much confidence with his play before his season was ended by injury. Spencer Pulley stepped in and was functional, but still left much to be desired. The Giants need to decide if they want to stick with Halapio and see if he can develop at his new position, or search for an upgrade.
The 2019 NFL Draft is well-stocked with interior linemen with versatility and upside in just about any blocking scheme the NFL runs. Elgton Jenkins of Mississippi State fits the same physical mold as Halapio and competed against some of the best defensive linemen in the country in the SEC. Could he be on the Giants’ radar?
- Prototypical size, frame, and length for the position.
- Generally shows a good base, knee bend, and pad level.
- Powerful center. Able to completely absorb power in one-on-one situations.
- Solid use of angles to turn rushers aside or open holes in the run game.
- Maintains blocks and battles through the whistle.
- Shows functional movement skills.
- Hands are slow off the snap, and too often wide.
- Bad habit of ‘catching’ defenders, rather than striking and controlling them.
- Decent movement skills, but appears slow over any kind of distance.
What They’re Saying
Jenkins lined up at both guard as well as center and dominated at both positions. He was quick, explosive and powerful. He beat SEC opponent Dontavius Russell on consecutive snaps, at one point throwing the 300-pound defender to the ground. Jenkins entered the week ranked as the top center in the nation, and he strengthened his hold at the position.
– Tony Pauline (DraftAnalyst.com Senior Bowl Risers – Day 1)
Does He Fit The Giants?
As with so many of the interior offensive linemen we profile, the question of whether or not Elgton Jenkins fits the Giants is really a two-part question. Many of these prospects will have to be had with the Giants’ second round pick, and it only makes sense to spend that pick on them if the team wants to move on from Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley.
In a vacuum, he does seem to fit what the Giants looked for in offensive linemen when building their new line in 2018. Jenkins is big, long, and powerful, and seemingly a solid communicator who is rarely caught off-guard by what the defense does.
However, he has some issues with his game that will need to be ironed out if he is ever to reach his potential. Jenkins’ biggest problem is with his hands. Far too often he is late in getting them up after snapping the ball, giving up his chest to the defensive tackle. He is forced to go wide which gives up leverage and the ability to control the defender, and will likely lead to penalties in the NFL. When he is able to get his hands up, fire his punch, and make first contact with the defender, his hand placement is good. With his leverage — Jenkins is quite good at sitting into his stance with a wide base and keeping his pads low — and natural power, he is able to bend defenders back and be a road grader up front. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen nearly often enough.
Jenkins isn’t particularly swift on the move, and over any kind of distance is he is simply slow. However, his short-area movement skills are impressive for a player his size. He is generally able to mirror defenders in pass protection and can move well enough to execute his blocking responsibilities in outside-zone runs. He is a better fit for power runs with a man-gap scheme, but he should be able to handle some zone responsibilities at the next level.
All told, Jenkins is a good center prospect, and if he can improve his hands he has high upside for a team that wants big linemen and bases its running game on man-gap concepts.