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Commentary: Cincinnati Bengals Should Pass On Cornerback Janoris Jenkins

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Feb 28, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Alabama defensive back Janoris Jenkins participates in pass interception drills during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Feb 28, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; North Alabama defensive back Janoris Jenkins participates in pass interception drills during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

During the earlier iterations of mock drafts percolating throughout the interwebz, the Bengals were connected with North Alabama cornerback Janoris Jenkins as one of Cincinnati's two first-round selections. According to many big boards and position rankings, many of which were hand-written on a napkin or two-ply toilet paper, Jenkins is remains listed as one of the top cornerbacks after LSU's Morris Claiborne, hovering in the Stephon Gilmore and Dre Kirkpatrick pool. But his stock is undoubtedly going to fall and it has everything to do with the fact that he has more character flags than the total number of national flags at the United Nations (Editor's Note: We originally wrote "more character flags than the United Nations", but we're fairly certain that Roger Goodell would indefinitely suspend the U.N. because of their own character flags).

Albert Breer with NFL.com writes:

Executives agreed that he is talented and has been honest about his issues, though it continues to trouble them that the drug use, by Jenkins' own admission, wasn't curtailed after he was thrown off Florida's team by coach Will Muschamp.

Later Breer references an AFC college scout who says the bulk of Jenkins' decisions are smoking marijuana and having lots and lots and lots of sex:

"He's not a bad person. He just makes a lot of dumb, dumb mistakes. He just smokes and (has sex), and that's essentially what it is. … And there's just awful decision-making associated with that. I don't think he's a bad person. But he has a lot of soul-searching to do. I wouldn't touch him in the first round."

More recently people tossed the red flag dagger when Jenkins disassociated himself (aka, fired) agency CAA. And then going to Las Vegas afterwards, avoiding nagging agents who wish to represent Jenkins. Rob Rang with CBS Sports writes:

While a young man traveling to Vegas is certainly no crime, the timing of the trip certainly won't win Jenkins any favors with scouts who can't help but wonder if the talented cornerback can't stay away from potentially negative influences before he's given a multi-million dollar contract, how can they expect him to make better decisions once he has more money and fame?

Now the obvious Mike-Brown-redeemers will fall over themselves, but that storyline rarely picks up with a player immediately out of college; rather veterans in the NFL with enough contributing talent but extremely harmless on the checkbook; sometimes it's benefited them, sometimes not, but it's rarely burnt them.

True they've selected players out of college with checkered pasts, which could apply here in the "steal in the second round" file, but their recent trend with such players has vastly distanced itself -- and we're not applying DUI-related issues (Maualuga) due to the fact most teams have to deal with players that enjoy a little taste of wine (or a gallon of whiskey) after dinner.

That being said our initial inclination is pass on Jenkins. And that's not because he smokes dope and has lots and lots and lots of sex. Rather when he was forced to leave Florida, indications are that he didn't learn from those choices that impacted his life. Kids are going to have fun and people are going to make mistakes. How you handle them goes a long way towards growing both as a player and as a person. And he doesn't seem to really care.