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Cincinnati Bengals Player Profile: Kris Jenkins

The Bengals desperately needed to address the defensive tackle position in the draft. Let's look closer at second-round pick Kris Jenkins.

The Cincinnati Bengals desperately needed to address the defensive tackle position in the 2024 NFL Draft after the departure of DJ Reader. The orange and black were abysmal last season generating interior pressure and stopping the run in the division where it’s most crucial.  The Bengals understood the assignment and double-dipped at DT in April by selecting Kris Jenkins from Michigan at pick 49 overall then took McKinnley Jackson from Texas A&M with their compensatory pick late in the third round. Jenkins is a player the Bengals had their eyes on for months in the scouting process as someone who could produce meaningful snaps to begin the season. Let’s examine closer the former standout for the Maize and Blue and how he fits in defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo’s scheme.

Cincinnati Bengals Player Profile: Kris Jenkins

College Career

Jenkins comes from NFL bloodlines as his father played for 10 seasons between the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets and was a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro. His uncle is also Super Bowl champion and 13-year NFL veteran Cullen Jenkins. The redshirt junior appeared in 44 career games with 32 starts along the defensive line where he was a captain and second-team All-American. In his senior season, Jenkins started in all 15 games and amassed  37 tackles with 4.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery, and one interception while earning his fourth varsity letter in helping Michigan win a national championship.

Attitude Adjustment

The most apparent first impression that Jenkins showed upon arriving in Cincinnati had nothing to do with his stellar play. It was his infectious attitude and energy that shined through every time he spoke.

This stellar mindset is a Zac Taylor prerequisite as he’s noted how imperative this quality is in building a strong locker room culture. This tenacious attitude came from Jenkins’s father as he noted “His mindset is a gladiator’s and that’s an area I’m trying to work at, too. That gladiator mindset, it didn’t matter if you tried to double-team him, triple-team him. Whatever. He’s getting the job done. He doesn’t care who you are.” This is music to the ears of the leaders of this team and will only endear him more with the likes of Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, Ted Karras, Sam Hubbard, and Mike Hilton.

Dream to Scheme

Jenkins seems well-equipped for the big-boy football he’ll see in the AFC North with his relentless motor and quick hands that will help him shed blocks at the next level. He also plays with excellent pad level and shines with fantastic strength when engaged in a one-on-one matchup.

Anarumo’s defense typically uses 4 defensive linemen and is predicated on heavy rotation to keep players fresh throughout the game. Jenkins will be in this projection at nose tackle and the three-technique on the outside shoulder of the OG this season. The Bengals are counting on Jenkins to stay on the path of his proud football family with the trajectory of his story continually trending upward.

Main Photo: Albert Cesare/The Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK


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