Tag Archives: Mississippi State

Center of attention

Former Mississippi State offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins stood out in college for his versatility. There are not many positions he didn't have a hand in contributing at for the Bulldogs. As he moves on to the next level, we sat down to talk with him about his flexibility, technique and overall mindset heading into the 2019 NFL Draft.

Q&A with Mississippi State OL Elgton Jenkins

DN: With all of the different positions (LG, LT, RT, OC) you've played in school, which one would you say is your favorite? Did you have one that you feel like you're best at?

Jenkins: I think I'm better at center than all of them. I've been playing it for two years and in those two years I've been playing it I've been more wise to the game… having more knowledge. But I think with any position I play at this point right here, with the knowledge I have for the game, I can dominate and play at a high level.

DN: And speaking of playing at a high level, it seemed like one of the things that you do a really good job of is re-anchoring. Even if somebody may get you for a second, you do a good job of hopping back to sink back in the chair. Do you think your tackle experience helps dealing with guys inside trying to use leverage?

During the 2019 Reese's Senior Bowl practices Rankin (No. 74 pictured with player grabbing his jersey) demonstrated very good balance and core strength.

Jenkins: I really think it is a mix of athleticism, being strong and being able to bend. That's what I think it is.

DN: Some of the guys you've played with and have moved on, what type of advice have they given to you? Can you draw experience from your teammate being in this same situation, Rankin (Martinas, 3rd Round, 80th overall, 2018 NFL Draft, Houston Texans)? What has Martinas kind of talked to you about?

Jenkins: Man, he just says come to work every day with a business-mind approach. Treat this as your job and things like that. So every day come to work and every year somebody else is trying to come and take your job. You've got to be a man, step up and keep your job.

DN: In terms of learning a new offense this year under Joe Moorhead (Mississippi State head coach), what was one of the big things you had to pick up in terms of making a quick transition? Certainly a different style than the previous scheme.

Jenkins: Just the scheme and the offense and things like that. I think I pick up offenses really fast man. It is really just the same thing, you've just go to be able to use the verbiage from each offense and you'll pick it up fast.

DN: Do you feel like it was one game that you would want someone to take a look at, what game would that be?

Jenkins: I feel like you can look at the majority of my games, but a game I'd say probably was Auburn. They've got one of the bigger D-tackles and he probably had one tackle that game. Not only me, but my offensive line back at Mississippi State. They had a big part in that. We play as five and then we play as one. Us as a whole O-line had a big part in my success.

DN: Is there one guy at the next level you pattern your game after? Or a guy you've looked up to?

Jenkins: When I was playing tackle, I always looked at tackles. Me playing center right now, it'll probably be somebody like Maurkice (Pouncey, Pittsburgh Steelers) or someone like that.

DN: That's a pretty good one. Thanks a lot for your time man. Good luck in the draft.

Jenkins: Appreciate it.

Related Images:

2018 Preview: Kentucky Wildcats

Season outlook

Head coach Mark Stoops' defense got a boost when it found out senior safety Mike Edwards and senior linebacker Josh Allen (6'5, 230) would forgo the NFL Draft and return for another season in Lexington.  The defense should be in solid hands behind the two stalwarts.  On offense, junior running back Benny Snell, Jr. (5'11, 223) was productive, finishing the 2017 campaign with 1,333 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. The key for the Wildcats will be who is under center.  Sophomores Gunnar Hoak (6'4, 206) and Terry Wilson (6'3, 205) will battle it out in camp to decide the starter.  No matter who wins, Stoops will look for ball security. The Wildcats enjoyed a bowl- eligible season behind Stephen Johnson, who completed 60 percent of his passes and threw just seven interceptions. If Kentucky can get the same type of smart quarterback play in 2018, look for them to compete in the SEC East.

Troy's player to watch

7 Mike Edwards 6'0 201 S-Senior

Edwards has contributed 196 tackles, nine and a half tackles for losses, seven interceptions and 15 pass break-ups the last two seasons.

Edwards has led SEC defensive backs in tackles for consecutive seasons.  The senior safety likes to crowd the line of scrimmage and is a force in run support.  He also has a knack for picking off opposing quarterbacks.  Last season, Edwards had four interceptions. Look for the Cincinnati native to continue to fine tune his craft this season and make the jump to the NFL in the spring.

Game of the season

September 8th at Florida
Kentucky went toe-to-toe with Florida last season before ultimately falling 28-27.  This year, the Wildcats will have to travel to Gainesville during the second week of the season. Stoops' team could establish themselves as a legitimate power in the SEC East if they can secure a statement win against the Gators.

DraftNasty's Prospect Watch

8 Derrick Baity 6'3 186 CB-Senior

Kentucky senior cornerback Derrick Baity (No. 8 pictured) posted 11 passes defensed in 2017.

Although Baity has been beaten down the field on occasion (see Hall, Missouri '17), he exhibits good feet in off-man for a taller cornerback.  In addition, he contains the necessary short memory to continue to battle after giving up plays.  While capable of reading the action instinctively to tackle on plays in front of him, there is some body-block tackling in his game.  The Wildcats have three pro prospects at the cornerback position (Chris Westry, Lonnie Johnson) entering 2018 and Baity is arguably the most fluid of the trio.  For him to carve out early-round consideration, he has to clean up the occasional concentration lapses that show up week-to-week.

Prediction: 7-5

According to DraftNasty's Troy Jefferson, Kentucky will fall to Florida and Tennessee on the road and Mississippi State, Georgia and South Carolina at home. The Wildcats will still win enough games to qualify for a third consecutive bowl game. 

2018 Season Preview: Arkansas Razorbacks

Season outlook

Morris (pictured with Houston HC Major Applewhite before a 2017 contest) won eight conference games in three seasons at SMU.

Bret Bielema is gone and first-year head coach Chad Morris is now the head man in charge in Little Rock.  Morris spent three seasons at SMU, amassing a 14-22 overall record and an 8-16 record in the American Athletic Conference.  Things won't get any easier in the SEC but Morris will have some pieces to work with.  Offensively, senior left guard Hjalte Froholdt (6'5, 315) and sophomore running back Chase Hayden (5'10, 200) will be tasked with making plays in the running game. Froholdt has started 25 straight games at guard after transitioning from the defensive line. Hayden finished the 2017 season with 326 yards and four touchdowns on 61 carries before suffering a leg fracture in October.  Defensively, the linebackers are the position group of strength. Junior linebacker De'Jon Harris and senior linebacker Dre Greenlaw (6'0, 227) have the talent to transition to new defensive coordinator John Chavis' 4-3 defense after playing in the 3-4 in 2017.  Chavis comes from Texas A&M after spending five years at LSU. The new defensive coordinator is used to coaching in the SEC and his units consistently produce NFL draft picks. In a season which could include its bumps and bruises, expect the Razorbacks defense to adapt quicker than its offense. 

Troy's player to watch

8 De'Jon Harris 6'0 244 LB-Junior
The junior linebacker did it all for the Razorbacks defense last season. He led the team in tackles (115), tackles for loss (8.5) and sacks (3.5) in 2017.   Harris finished second in the conference in tackles and was named second-team All-SEC.  The list of NFL linebackers Arkansas has produced includes Matrell Spaight, Caleb Miller and Tony Bua.  Harris is an every-down linebacker who will be counted on to lead the Razorbacks through a rebuilding process.

Game of the season 

September 29th vs. Texas A&M
Arkansas won just one conference game last season but did take Texas A&M into overtime before ultimately falling.  The Razorbacks will get a chance to avenge their loss from a year ago in Arlington.  A win against the Aggies could drastically accelerate the rebuild in Little Rock.

Prediction: 6-6

Arkansas won just four games last season but DraftNasty's Troy Jefferson is predicting a two-game improvement in 2018.  The Razorbacks will suffer losses to North Texas, Auburn, Texas A&M, Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State. The Razorbacks may become bowl-eligible, but still are a long way  from competing with the conference's elite teams.

Related Images:

2018 NFL Supplemental Draft: Mississippi St. DB Brandon Bryant

Brandon Bryant 6'0 215 (E) Mississippi State S-Senior

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Plays the game the right way. Sticks foot to change directions vs. misdirection. Good feet in his backpedal as a quarters or deep-half safety. He will make some impressive interceptions closing off the hash marks (INT, 4th QTR, BYU ’17). Measures his inside-out angles coming downhill. Does a fine job of getting off of blocks to defend screen passes. Breaks forward with momentum vs. dig routes in quarters coverage (PBU, BYU ’17). He’s disciplined in the deep middle one-third and can snap out of his breaks off the hash.

Weaknesses: At the first sign of a jerk by the WR, he will open his hips and can be beaten across his face (post route, Kirk, Texas A&M ’17, overthrown). Circles his paths far too long to get in position for open field, face-up tackles (MT, Miami, OH. ’16). Overruns the ball on occasion and will miss tackles in this phase as well. He has lost some physical matchups vs. bigger TEs (Smith, St. Petersburg Bowl ’16). He has been smoked settling his pedal vs. speed (allowed TD, Hifo, BYU ’17). Left the Mississippi State program in the spring of 2018 due to academic issues (https://www.clarionledger.com/story/sports/college/mississippi-state/2018/04/08/safety-brandon-bryant-moves-mississippi-state/497329002/).

Other Notes:

  • Attended Rosa Fort HS (Miss.) and was named a three-star recruit by Rivals.com
  • Earned 2013 Class 4A All-State honors after accounting for over 1,200 yards and 14 total TDs as a QB/RB/WR. He also posted 37 tackles, 2 INTs (TD) and 5 PBUs on defense
  • 2014 (1st Year SEC Academic Honor Roll)
  • 2015 (8 sts): 63 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, 2 TFLs, FF, 3 INTs (73 yds, TD) and 3 PBUs
  • 2016 (10 sts): 62 tackles, TFL, INT and 2 PBUs
  • Has reportedly run in the 4.24 40-yd range, bench presses 365 pounds, 35” VJ, 9’10” BJ. Then ran a 4.29 40-yard dash in 2017
  • 2017: 32 tackles, ½ TFL, INT and 2 PBUs
  • Career Stats: 157 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, 3.5 TFLs, FF,  5 INTs (122 yds, TD) and 7 PBUs

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): It was a bit of a surprise to see Bryant become academically ineligible this spring after earning first-year SEC Academic Honor Roll accolades back in 2014. He is a workout warrior who will ‘wow’ NFL evaluators with his testing numbers prior to this summer’s supplemental draft. We don’t expect him to impress teams quite as much when they turn on the film. He consistently had problems finding the ball down the field during his final two years in school. He had a tendency to get his hips turned around versus average receivers when working in space over a receiver in quarters coverage (see BYU 2017). On the plus side, he’s a physical presence built in the mold of Washington Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger. While not as physical, he has more speed and will throw his body around on the field. Look for Bryant to get some attention in the late rounds of the 2018 NFL Supplemental Draft as a potential four-team special teams contributor (gunner on the punt team).

 DraftNasty’s Grade: 5.433 (4th Round)