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Huard’s Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile: DT with pedigree

Apr 9, 2024, 12:38 PM

Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile: Kris Jenkins...

Kris Jenkins of the Michigan Wolverines during a 2024 game. ( Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

( Ryan Kang/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks made a move a month ago to shore up the defensive tackle spot when they signed veteran Johnathan Hankins, but they aren’t getting any younger at the position with the 32-year-old Hankins and 31-year-old Jarran Reed figuring to be atop the depth chart.

Huard’s Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile: A ‘ninja’ on the edge

Both will be unrestricted free agents after the season, and there’s little proven depth behind the pair, so defensive tackle looks to be a spot for the Seahawks to add to during the upcoming NFL Draft.

The team could look to a name familiar to some NFL fans in the draft: Kris Jenkins. The Michigan product carries the same name as his dad, a 10-year NFL veteran who reached the Super Bowl with the Carolina Panthers, and is also the nephew of former NFL player Cullen Jenkins.

It’s also worth pointing out that Jenkins played under new Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald, who was defensive coordinator at Michigan for the 2021 season when Jenkins was a sophomore.

“With the Michigan defense last year, (Jenkins) would often be lined up next to (6-3, 339-pound lineman) Kenneth Grant,” Huard said. “(Grant) was massive and could also move, so you looked at Kris Jenkins and you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s a little itty bitty guy?’ No, he’s 6-3, 300 (pounds) with 34-inch arms, and it just so happens he played next to another massive guy. But he built what (former Michigan coach) Jim Harbaugh would refer to constantly as the blue wall. … (Michigan had) one of the best elite national championship title defenses and it started up front. It started with those guys, much like Mike Macdonald’s group in Baltimore and Mike Macdonald’s group in Michigan.”

Better than the production

Jenkins’ numbers don’t jump off the page. He had just 4.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks over 15 games during his senior season, and eight tackles for loss and four sacks during his career with the Wolverines. But his impact went beyond the numbers. That was made evident by the second-team All-Big Ten and third-team Associated Press All-America selections he received last season.

“If you were to look at his years there at Michigan and you see a career eight tackles for loss and four sacks, you’re like, ‘Well, hold on a second. How in the world is this guy drafted in the first three rounds? He wasn’t productive,'” Huard said. “What you don’t see are the number of times that that man’s nameplate never moved. … (At) Michigan, as it will be with the Seahawks, it was imperative that you don’t get turned, that you don’t get twisted, that you don’t get moved off your spot. … In fact, they were graded at Michigan (on) ‘Can I see your name plate? Can you stay that square? Can you take on double teams and be immovable? Can we run you in slants and stunts and you still stay totally square.’ And that guy did.”

Jenkins also had a solid showing at the combine. He repped 225 pounds in the bench press 29 times (which beat out potential first-round pick Byron Murphy of Texas), ran a 4.91 second 40-yard dash and posted a 30-inch vertical jump. His overall combine scores was fifth among defensive tackles, according to NFL.com.

Bringing leadership

One aspect of Jenkins’ game that stuck out most to Huard is the leadership qualities he brought to Michigan. The Olney, Md., product was a captain for the national champion Wolverines.

“Very, very rarely do I ever see things in quotes from a head coach and coordinator about a defensive tackle like I did Kris Jenkins,” Huard said. “(Harbaugh will) gush about (Michigan quarterback) J.J. McCarthy, he’ll gush about the strength of his offensive lineman up front. You want to really get Jim Harbaugh gushing? Ask him about Kris Jenkins.

“… Depending on how (the Seahawks) move their picks around … if he’s there in the third round, I want Kris Jenkins on my football team.”

Listen to Brock Huard’s full draft profile on at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story. Listen to Brock and Salk weekdays from a 6-10 a.m. or on the Seattle Sports app.

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