It sounds like the Miami Dolphins organization really likes second-year linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who showed promise last season as a solid three-down linebacker in this league. The 22-year-old had a very nice college career with the Florida Gators, and he could even threaten for a starting role in 2014 if Philip Wheeler, who was uncharacteristically atrocious in his first season in Miami, continues to struggle.
According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin stated that he hopes Jenkins can get some more playing time next season, “He’s very bright guy and picked up the system well. He’s athletic and has good zone awareness and has the skill set to run with receivers and play man-to-man. We hope he pushes for play time.”
That’s some solid praise for a player who has been praised by the organization several times before, and I could easily see a situation in which Jenkins takes third-down snaps away from Wheeler next season. Even though he recorded 17 tackles in 16 appearances, Jenkins barely saw the field due to a notoriously crowded linebackers group. When he did get playing time against the rival Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots last season, he looked solid. Jenkins’s upside as a coverage linebacker is especially important, as the Dolphins could definitely use that kind of a player on their defense going forward.