Eagles Check Out 359-Pound Nose Tackle John Jenkins

Big and beautiful.

That’s how John Jenkins describes himself. During weigh-ins at the Senior Bowl this week, no prospect tipped the scales more than the 359-pound nose tackle out of Georgia.

Jenkins, a projected first-round pick, played well in Mobile, but he knows the questions about his weight are not going away any time soon.

“The biggest question will be… they heard the rumor about me being 370, and I came in at 359,” he said. “Now the question is going to be, ‘What are you going to weigh at the combine?’ That’s going to be the biggest question. And then when I bring it down, they’re going to be like ‘Ok, this man is serious.’”

It’s a balancing act for guys like Jenkins, who anchor 3-4 defenses. They need to be big enough to eat up space and take on multiple blockers, yet athletic enough to compete against their offensive counterparts. Jenkins said he’s looking to be in the 340s for his next test at the combine in Indianapolis.

The Eagles, meanwhile, have not yet finalized their defensive staff, but there remains a real possibility that they switch to a 3-4, or at least some type of hybrid. That will mean personnel changes, and the one glaring hole they would need to address in the draft or free agency would be at nose tackle.

That’s where Jenkins could come in. He began his career at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before transferring to Georgia where he started 20 games the past two seasons. Jenkins missed the Bulldogs’ bowl game against Nebraska because he was ruled academically ineligible.

He was a second-team All-SEC selection.

“All these teams have access to my coaches,” Jenkins said. “My coaches are not going to lie for me. They’ve got their reputation on the line. I’m a worker. My conditioning test, I blew it out the frame last year. I did it my first year there. Gulf Coast, I killed it. I mean, I have no problem with running. My coaches will tell you, I can run for days. You may look at me and not believe me, but when I start running, then you go, ‘Ok, he’s telling the truth.’”

As for the academic issues, Jenkins is not concerned.

“They have access to everything,” he said. “When you put your social security number down, you just gave your life to them. If you’re not going to be honest, they’re going to find out. That’s why when they ask me, ‘Any off-the-field issues?’ I never had one. I’ve got all the points on my license, and I’m proud to say that.”

Once the Eagles officially name a new defensive coordinator and decide on what scheme they’re going to run, we’ll get a better idea of whether Jenkins could be a potential fit.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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