E.J. Jenkins’ day was over. On one of the more important days of his life, the former Georgia Tech wide receiver had shown conclusively his speed, size, explosiveness and skill to NFL scouts and coaches at the Brock Football Facility at Tech.
A scout walked by and shook Jenkins’ hand.
“Great job today,” he said. “Awesome.”
Another scout later had similar parting words.
“Nice job today, E.J.” he said.
Jenkins did not make much of a mark in his lone season with the Yellow Jackets. He played in all 12 games, starting 11, and caught 17 passes for 316 yards. His reception total ranked sixth on the team, though his yardage total was third. He did have a hand in a number of big plays, with six catches for 20-plus yards and three touchdown catches.
He caught the right people’s attention Thursday, though. Checking in at 6-foot-6 and 245 pounds for Tech’s Pro Day, Jenkins covered the 40-yard dash in the range of 4.5 seconds, uncommon swiftness for a person his size. Other drill work he did Thursday similarly captivated the audience, leaving scouts to go back for more homework on him.
“It helped him a lot,” Jenkins’ Atlanta-based agent, Hadley Engelhard, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the event. “Every team said (Thursday’s) workout really helped him. We’ll be in touch. He’s going to have more workouts.”
Jenkins’ physical tools and limited experience make him an “intriguing” prospect, in Engelhard’s words. From Fredericksburg, Virginia, Jenkins played two seasons at FCS St. Francis in Pennsylvania. He redshirted in 2017, played in 2018 and 2019 and then transferred to South Carolina in 2021 after St. Francis did not play in the fall of 2020 or in the spring of 2021.
He transferred to Tech after spring practice with the Gamecocks in 2022, seeking a greater opportunity. His season-by-season reception total across four seasons – 5, 39, 8, 17. That would strike some as a player who was not terribly productive at wide receiver. To others – a group that evidently includes NFL scouts – it might suggest a prospect who has the tools to be used more effectively at a different position.
“He’s not a finished product,” Engelhard said. “He’s not a Day 1 starter. He’s a guy that’s going to have to come in and continue to learn and develop and play a backup special-teams role early on and hopefully morph into a starting role.”
The 40 time stood out. Among tight ends at the NFL scouting combine, the fastest time recorded was 4.54 seconds. Only three of the 13 tight end prospects at the combine ran under 4.6 seconds.
“Of course, I set my expectations higher than what I come in with just because I expect so much out of myself,” Jenkins said. “The feedback I was getting, I knew I was having a good day, but just never getting complacent, just keep pushing and just reset my mind after every drill, and hopefully do better than what I was testing before.”
Jenkins was on scouts’ radar before Thursday, when he was one of seven former Yellow Jackets draft hopefuls to take part in the Pro Day, along with defensive end Keion White, linebackers Charlie Thomas and Ayinde Eley, running back Hassan Hall, offensive lineman William Lay and wide receiver Malachi Carter. Thanks in no small part to White’s status as a potential first-round pick, representatives from all 32 NFL teams were on hand, toting stopwatches and clipboards.
Jenkins took part in the Hula Bowl in January in Orlando, Florida, one of the more high-profile pre-draft showcase games. He has been hearing much about the possibility of playing tight end.
“Whatever team I go to, whatever position they put me in, I’m just going to perform to the best of my ability and give it my all,” Jenkins said.
Engelhard said Jenkins will continue to put on weight and train at his new position after playing wide receiver throughout his college career.
“I have the frame, the length and everything to be down there (on the line of scrimmage) and get nitty-gritty,” Jenkins said. “People were telling me it’s really just the will and the drive just to do it. I feel like I put that on display during the Hula Bowl game and just continually just keep improving every day.”
Engelhard said he believed that Jenkins will be drafted between the fourth and seventh rounds on the final day of the draft.
“Especially after (Thursday’s workout),” he said.
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