I highly doubt CB Janoris Jenkins will still be avaliable when the Packers pick late in the first round of the NFL draft, but if he is, Ted Thompson has an interesting decision to make.
On paper, Jenkins vs. Harrison Smith is a complete mismatch. Jenkins is by far the more talented and superior player. But when you factor in concerns about Jenkins off the field and the Packers need for a safety after releasing Nick Collins, the matchup becomes closer.
Jenkins is a cocky, in-your-face, man-to-man, physical cover corner. You can put him on an island against any WR and he’s not going to back down. He’ll take on whomever he’s asked to cover, not ask for any help, and have a good chance of winning the battle.
Smith is one of the better safeties in a weak safety class and almost plays like an extra linebacker. I don’t see him as a guy who can cover the field against deep passing attacks, but I do think he’ll be good in the box against the run and as a blitzer. Think of him sort of as a lite version of Charles Woodson.
If Jenkins and Smith are still out there when the Packers pick (I’m 99 percent sure Smith will be), I think the Packers should take Jenkins. I know Jenkins’ off-field issues don’t make him “Packer People,” but he’s too talented to pass up, especially as QBs, WRs and TEs continue to get better in the NFC North. Yes, Jenkins has character issues, but Mike McCarthy, Charles Woodson and others in the Packers organization should be able to help Jenkins in that area as long as he shows a willingness to work hard on the field and make a few changes off of it.