AJ has the athletic ability and wide receiver skills to be a #1 wide receiver for the team that drafts him. He is quick, fast and has decent size. He has those quick feet that make his cuts precise and gives him the ability to separate with ease. He has excellent hands and is fearless. He can change his body in the air to catch the ball and will fight for the ball when it is in the air. He can catch the long ball over his shoulder like a center fielder going for the ball in the deepest part of the ball park. AJ has the unique ability to relax his body on the point of contact and let players slip off him, breaking tackles to gain yardage after the catch. His hand-eye coordination is so good that he can peek at his opponent and still catch the ball. He is smart and uses his quickness to run excellent routes. AJ on the field, shows the impatience of a star. He wants to be the man and he wants it now. He plays with a chip on his shoulder.
AJ is impatient. He is impatient running routes, impatient with his teammates and with his coaches. He is a smart kid, who works hard and wants everyone to love the game and work as hard as he does. He wants to win, he wants to be the best and it looks like he will challenge just about anyone friend or foe if they are not working as hard as he is. He needs to add bulk to his body and upper body strength because he will be challenged for the first time off the line and will be pushed off his routes. How he handles adversity is a big question mark. He is like a lot of receivers who come from the college game to the NFL with RAC abilities - he has to watch the fumbles. He holds the ball out, which leads in many cases to fumbles at the next level. That will hurt him more than anything else in the NFL.
There will be a lot of teams wary of AJ because of his challenging attitude. For me personally, I love players like this. All they want to be is the best. So teach him to be the best...what's the big deal? As long as the kid wants to work hard to be the best then help him to be the best! You bring a kid like this right into the quarterback meetings and you show him why you do what you do so that his leadership skills start to take charge and minimize his impatience. You teach him the next level mentally as well as physically. You do that and you have a #1 wide receiver. In a few years, when he learns the offense, I would bring him over to meetings for the defense and let him learn what and how defenses are doing to defend the best receivers in the league. In fact, all receivers should learn what a defense does to minimize their impact on a game. I know, I know...crazy thinking, players are in enough meetings. Well all I tell you is, I have been in more unproductive meetings than I have even been in productive meetings and I suspect that's why players don't like meetings. If you shut AJ out of the entire process and don't communicate, treat him as just a receiver who should shut up and just catch the ball, I guarantee you, trouble will happen. This is not a dumb kid, this is a kid looking for information above and beyond the normal wide receiver. He wants to know why you do what you do. He wants to understand the chess match inside the football game. Give it to him and in a couple of years, this kid will be a star, if you do. AJ Jenkins might not be selected until the third or fourth round and that will just add to the chip on his shoulder that he plays with right now. I think Chad Ochocinco said it best after playing for 9 years for the Bengals and then signing with the Patriots. "I never learned so much about football until I came to the New England Patriots." Maybe nobody directed him or expected him or wanted him to. Think about that.
The BS Detector
Drew Boylhart March /12