Shaneil Jenkins Brings the “IT” Factor to Cowboys’ Defense!

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Shaneil Jenkins looked like a man among boys in NCAA Division-II football. He was the 2015 MEC defensive player of the year and a finalist for the Cliff Harris Award.

Shaneil Jenkins

Shaneil Jenkins started all 14 games for Shepherd University in 2015. He amassed 41 tackles (26 solo) with a team-best 23.0 tackles-for-loss (-106 yards). Jenkins added a team-best 13.5 sacks (-80 yards), three forced fumbles, three pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. 

Jenkins garnered first team All-Region honors from CCA and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette. Gained third team Don Hansen’s Football Gazette All-America honors and honorable mention All-America accolades.

shaneil jenkins Shaneil Jenkins, DE

College: Shepherd University

Draft: Undrafted

Height Weight: 6-3  281

40 time: 4.78

10 Yard Split: 1.65

Bench Reps: 24

Vertical Jump: 30″

It is puzzling that Shaneil Jenkins didn’t receive an invite to the NFL combine. It is disappointing that we missed him for the 2016 “The Guys No One Is Talking About” series. Our D-II poster boy this year was Matt Judon of Grand Valley State. Judon has impressed John Harbaugh thus far and will get an opportunity to play with the ones next week. Let’s hope the Cowboys get the same type of production from Jenkins.

Shaneil Jenkins was originally signed as a priority free agent by the Denver Broncos, but was waived on August 2nd. The Cowboys signed him on August 7th, 2016.

The Broncos are loaded with depth on a defense that was ranked #1 in 2015. It was the dominance of that defense that secured their Super Bowl Victory. Not only was Jenkins buried on the depth chart in Denver, he doesn’t appear to be a good fit in a 3-4.

Per an article by Gil Brandt:

“Representatives from 28 NFL teams — including Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, head coach Mike Tomlin and a number of position coaches, and Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley — were on hand for West Virginia’s pro day on Monday.

The workout was held indoors and was run on Field Turf.

While West Virginia possesses a good number of quality prospects, a small-school player from Shepherd might have made the biggest impression on scouts.

Shepherd defensive end Shaneil Jenkins — 6-foot-2 7/8, 281 pounds — ran the 40-yard dash in 4.78 and 4.86 seconds. He had a 20-yard short shuttle time of 4.5 seconds. He did the three-cone drill in 7.25 seconds. He performed 24 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Jenkins is described as looking the part; he’s got a great physique. He was very impressive in his pro-day workout, showing quickness.

Only four teams showed up at Shepherd’s pro day on March 31, so Jenkins took it upon himself to perform a workout in front of a larger audience of NFL scouts at West Virginia’s pro day, and it might have earned him a low-round draft slot. He should at least be a priority free-agent pickup for a team following the NFL draft.”

shaneil jenkins

Film Study:

  • Shaneil Jenkins has the ideal height and length for the position: with a wide upper body, long arms and thick powerful legs… He plays with a strong base and understands leverage… Strong violent hands that he uses well… Plays with good arm extension and is able to stack and shed well… Good initial quickness out of his stance (1.65 10 yd split)…  Moves well laterally… Equally effective against the run or the pass…
  • Plays with patience and has good instincts… Plays with good bend and has decent hips for a big kid… Plays with balance and changes direction well… Has outstanding lateral quickness and bend to capture the edge… Nice arm over swim and spin moves… Tenacious player with good power at the point… Powerful bull rush: he keeps his thick legs churning and drives his opponent in to the backfield… Excellent speed to close and relentless in pursuit… Shows good awareness and gets his hands up to disrupt passing plays… Versatile: can play either defensive end position or line up as the 3 tech (under tackle) in a 4-3 defense… Solid tackler…  Natural athletic ability is a plus…
  • Shaneil Jenkins will need to adapt to the speed of the NFL… Will need to get stronger and improve his overall technique… Will need time to get a better understanding of his assignments… His snap anticipation is off at times and he is a bit late out of his stance…

If there is one thing Rod Marinelli looks for in his defensive line players, it’s versatility. Jenkins has plenty of that. Considering he has only been in Dallas for a short time, he has been outstanding thus far in preseason. Keep an eye on this kid because the arrow points way up. He could very well be the dark horse of that defensive line rotation.



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  • Gabriel Carrasco

    Basically all the DT have played fairly well. Aside from Maleik Collins who’s out with injury.

  • Gabriel Carrasco

    With proper development and coaching, Jenkins could basically be the Leon Lett of the Cowboys rotation. I swore he was bigger than you put out there. I thought his height, but he looks like he weighs like 290.

    • Al

      His pro day weight was 275 that’s all I have to go on.

    • Al

      His pro day weight was 275 that’s all I have to go on.

    • BigDIndiana

      Might have beefed up since they are putting him at Tackle now. Interesting the scouts plucked him from a 3-4 like they did Irving. If they keep him there….Collins, T Crawford and Thornton are locks….how many will they keep? T McClain they had starting beside Crawford. How many did they keep on the roster total last year? Just from the numbers I think they try to slide him on the PS….unless Collins can’t play and they go long there.

      • Al

        I don’t remember how many they kept last year, but my guess is they go long this year. I was under the impression Thornton was signed to be a 1 tech. So McClain and Thornton there and Crawford Collins Jenkins could be the 3’s.

        It will be interesting to see how this plays out. If Jenkins is at 290, he could play the one on pass downs. He is quick enough to play outside too. Following 6 tackles, 2 sacks and a forced fumble in 2 games: if that type of production continues, I don’t know if they want to risk Jenkins on the PS. He would probably get poached.

        • Gabriel Carrasco

          D line and O line don’t last long on the PS and they are hard to find during the season.

        • Gabriel Carrasco

          D line and O line don’t last long on the PS and they are hard to find during the season.

  • Lionone1

    Tony has a bone fracture in his back. damn shame