As all eyes turn towards the Philadelphia Eagles search for a fit at safety, more and more of the trained eyes are turning towards Safety Malcolm Jenkins. As lunchtime drew to a close, Mike Kaye from Bleeding Green Nation posted a fanshot of recent activity on Malcolm Jenkins twitter account. In the post, reflecting minutes previously, the account listed Philly sportswriters of both Jeff McLane and Les Bowen as recent followers. In his story “In free agency, Eagles’ best bet at safety is Malcolm Jenkin” released earlier in the day Jeff McLane set the odds of the Philadelphia Eagles signing Jenkins at 5-2.
So what is it about Malcolm Jenkins that places him in the cross hairs of the Philadelphia Eagles safety search? Well the first rule is the fact that you must beat a Chip Kelly team to catch his attention. In the playoff game, the New Orleans Saints did just that, and Jenkins had 3 tackles. The second element is that the player must be big. At 6’0″, and weighing 204 pounds, Jenkins has plenty of size to administer a thump on receivers working deep. A first round pick in the 2009 draft (number 14), Malcolm has played his entire NFL career for the Saints, and has averaged 71 tackles a year. He has never played in 16 games in a season, but he did add two forced fumbles, two interceptions, and two and a half sacks in 14 games played.
Jenkins adds a dimension favored in the Eagles scheme. He can switch from free safety to strong safety, which aligns with an Eagles scheme that requires either safety to move up or play back depending on the call. Jenkins needs work on tackling, having missed a significant number as measured by Pro Football Focus, but he is comfortable in the box as well as covering a slot receiver. The most intriguing quality of Jenkins is his reputation among his teammates, who respect him highly and consider him a true professional.
Is Malcolm in the middle of the Eagles search for a free safety? If he’s not, several Philadelphia sports writers are wrong. But even if he is not, he should be. The Eagles are searching for a player who will fit what they do and produce on each and every down. He was not resigned by the Saints because his price is likely beyond their ability to pay. And he will not come cheaply, as the safety position is becoming one of the more lucrative positions to play in the NFL.
But if the Eagles are aiming at a group of safeties offering both good value and good production, there stands Malcolm Jenkins, in the middle.