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2012 NFL Scouting Combine: Janoris Jenkins One Player That Will Be Watched Closely

The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine is underway and will pave the futures of a lot of young men looking to realize their dream of playing in the NFL. With the "Underwear Olympics" comes a somewhat grueling week of being put under the microscope, and for a lot of prospects this week can make or break their draft stock. A great 40-yard dash time or a poor interview could make a player rise or drop significantly come draft day.

One intriguing player that will have to answer a lot of questions about his checkered past is North Alabama cornerback, Janoris Jenkins. With the Bengals in desperate need of depth and talent at that position, many mock drafts have the team slated to choose Jenkins with one of their first round picks. With his talent and checkered past, Jenkins is surely a player that the Bengals staff will be keeping an eye on this week.

Being the enigmatic player that he is, Matt Bowen of The National Football Post claims that this will be a huge week for Jenkins' draft stock.

There were mixed reviews about Jenkins' performance in the Senior Bowl, but scouts definitely noticed his talent. While Bowen believes that Jenkins' on-field abilities will be studied and likely will open some eyes, it's the off-field issues that he'll have to address when interviewed by teams:

But the NFL Combine in Indianapolis will carry even more weight for Jenkins—staring with the interview process. The CB will have to answer some questions about his off the field issues while playing at Florida before he ended up at North Alabama.

And Jenkins will have to hear those same questions for every NFL scout, coach and GM he meets with down in Indy. They will want answers and this is part of the Combine experience for any player that has some "red flags’ attached to his scouting report.

...A real opportunity for Jenkins to solidify a first-round grade, move up draft boards and possibly challenge Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick as the second CB taken off the board after LSU’s Morris Claiborne.

Bengals fans have been noting an overall change in the team's philosophy regarding "troubled" players. Some believe that this was part of the supposed power that head coach Marvin Lewis received with his last contract. There were rumblings last year that owner Mike Brown preferred Ryan Mallett over Andy Dalton, but the coaches' preference of Dalton thankfully won the day. Jenkins is the ideal type of a Mike Brown player--incredibly gifted, with character flaws making him seem like he would be a bargain at the draft position that they would have an opportunity to grab him.

If Jenkins is available to them at either No. 17 or No. 21, it will be very interesting to see if the Bengals pass on him or not. One line of thinking (and the most logical one) would be that the Bengals would want to avoid picking up this type of player in the same offseason that Rey Maualuga and Jerome Simpson are fighting legal battles. The other line of thinking is that the team has two first round picks after coming off of a playoff appearance and can afford to gamble with one of those picks on a "boom or bust" prospect like Jenkins.

We'll see which line of thinking they'll take, but this week in Indianapolis will surely go a long way in determining Jenkins' NFL future.