Could Pats absorb troubled CB Jenkins?

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Could Pats absorb troubled CB Jenkins?

Last April, the troubled son of the NFL Draft was Ryan Mallett.

Attitude concerns and rumors of drug use sent his stock freefalling and -- in a draft where more than a quarter of the league was shopping for quarterbacks -- Mallett fell to the team with the best quarterback in the league, the Patriots.

(Read this feature by one of the best writers out there, ESPN's Elizabeth Merrill).

This year's Mallett is North Alabama's Janoris Jenkins.

Chased out of Florida, the lanky corner ended up in Division II. Now, he's trying to put a buff-and-shine on his reputation with the NFL Draft less than a month away.

Jeffri Chadiha spent time with Jenkins and laid out the issues and concerns in this piece.

Some team is going to roll the dice on Jenkins the same way the Patriots did on Mallett. It has to be a team with a strong program in place. It has to be a team with a no BS locker room and solid leadership and workers in the secondary group to ensure Jenkins sees what being a pro is about. It has to be a team where the head coach and personnel man is empowered to turn in a card with Jenkins' name on it and not worry about how his job security will be affected if Jenkins goes South.

A team like the Patriots is the kind of team that will most likely draft Jenkins.

Could it be the Patriots? Some experts -- including ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. -- think so. Kiper has the Patriots taking Jenkins with the 31st pick in the first round in his most recent mock draft.

The pros to Jenkins are that he's a plug-and-play corner who could walk in and play the "star" position in the Patriots defense right away. At 5-10, 192, he's got good length. During his time at Florida, he dealt with the A.J. Greens and Julio Jones' and more than held his own.

But demon weed and Gainesville's proximity to Jenkins' hometown of Pahokee conspired to make Florida coach Will Muschamp throw up his hands.

Bill Belichick is tight enough with Muschamp to get the skinny on whether Jenkins -- already a father of four children -- can overcome the obstacles he's erected for himself.

Belichick also is tight enough with former Florida coach Urban Meyer to find out if the player Meyer recruited out of high school is, at his core, a decent kid.

If it's established that Jenkins could succeed, the next most important step would be making sure he's surrounded by pros. The 2009 secondary group? Not pros. The 2012 secondary group? Pros.

Among the corners, Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Sterling Moore take their jobs with seriousness. Same with safeties Patrick Chung, James Ihedigbo and the other core players back there.

And it goes without saying that Belichick has the sway to go whichever way he wants during the draft and be above reproach from analysts who practically race to buzz in and say, "Brilliant move there by the Patriots and Bill Belichick..." as draft coverage unfolds.

The only question is whether the Patriots see all-important value in a player like Jenkins.

"Whenever you take any player you have everything that comes with them. So, whatever that is, their personality, their size, their speed their instincts, their . . . everything," Belichick said when asked about weighing conduct concerns. "You get the whole thing, so put them all together, its a mosaic of components and thats what you have and you put some kind of value on it. Whatever thats worth.

We'll find out what it's worth as it relates to Jenkins in less than a month.

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

A quick look at the information you need to know about tonight's Patriots-Steelers game:

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 15-2, Steelers 13- 5

GAME TIME: 6:40 p.m. EST

TV: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson

NATIONAL RADIO NETWORKS: Westwood One

NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts and Ross Tucker

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS: Steelers lead, 15-14

LAST MEETING: Patriots 27, Steelers 16 on Oct. 23, 2016 at Heinz Field

* * * *
QUICK FACTS
-- Bill Belichick is coaching in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game. Tom Brady is playing in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game.

-- The Patriots are 8-4 in AFC Championship Games, including 5-1 in games played in Foxboro and 4-1 at Gillette Stadium.

-- The Patriots are 30-19 in postseason games, including 19-4 at home (3-1 at Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, 16-3 at Gillette).

-- The Patriots' 30 postseason victories are tied with the 49ers for fourth-most in NFL history, behind the Cowboys (34), Steelers (34) and Packers (32).

-- The Patriots' .612 winning percentage in postseason games is third-best in NFL history, behind the Ravens (15-8, .652) and Packers (34-21, .618).

* * * *
MILESTONES
-- If the Patriots win today they will qualify for their ninth Super Bowl, most in NFL history. They are currently tied with the Cowboys, Broncos and Steelers at eight.

-- If the Patriots win today, Robert Kraft will set an NFL record for most conference championships by an owner (8) in the Super Bowl era. He is currently tied with the Denver Broncos' Pat Bowler at seven.

-- If the Patriots win today, Bill Belichick will move into a tie with Bill Walsh for third place on the NFL list of best postseason coaching winning percentage. Belichick (who would be 25-10 with a victory) and Walsh (10-4) would have .714 winning percentage. Belichick is currently in fifth place, two percentage points behind Joe Gibbs (17-7, .708). Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900) is in first place and Tom Flores (8-3. .727) is second.

-- If the Patriots win today, Belichick will advance to his seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, which would be most in NFL history. He is currently tied with Don Shula at six.

-- Tom Brady (8) needs one more playoff game with three or more touchdown passes to tie Joe Montana (9) for most three-plus TD playoff games since the 1970 NFL merger.

-- Stephen Gostkowski (142) needs 11 points to tie Gary Anderson for third place on the NFL's all-time list of kicking points in the postseason. Adam Vinatieri (234) is first and David Akers (175) is second.

-- Julian Edelman (76) needs nine receptions to tie Andre Reed (85) for sixth place on the NFL's all-time list of postseason receptions. Michael Irvin is fifth at 88, and Hines Ward and Wes Welker are tied for third at 88.

* * * *
TONIGHT'S OFFICIALS
-- REFEREE: Terry McAulay. UMPIRE: Rich Hall. HEAD LINESMAN: Wayne Mackie. LINE JUDGE: Mark Perlman. FIELD JUDGE: Scott Edwards. SIDE JUDGE: Boris Cheek. BACK JUDGE: Tony Steratore. ALTERNATES: John Parry, Mark Steinkerchner, Rich Martinez. REPLAY OFFICIAL: Mike Wimmer. SUPERVISOR: Gary Slaughter.

Brady goes back to high school for pregame social media post

Brady goes back to high school for pregame social media post

Tom Brady's pregame Facebook and Instagram post Sunday shows him wearing a different No. 12 uniform, that of Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif.

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

The Patriots quarterback, looking for his seventh Super Bowl trip Sunday night when he faces the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium in his and his team's sixth consecutive AFC Championship Game, posted the old photo and message on both his Facebook and newly opened Instagram accounts.

My family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, Pats nation, my schools, our fans... I'm playing for you today. LET'S GO

Posted by Tom Brady on Sunday, January 22, 2017