Could Pats absorb troubled CB Jenkins?

684080.jpg

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.

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

price_what_we_learned-overlay-master.png

Three things we learned from the Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Twins

Three things we learned from the Boston Red Sox’ 11-9 loss to the Minnesota Twins . . .

1) David Price isn’t having fun

Boston’s $217 million-dollar arm had another rough outing -- this time against a team that already has 60 losses.

Those are the team’s he’s supposed to dominate.

“It’s been terrible,” Price said on how his season has gone following the loss. “Just awful.”

Price’s mistakes have often been credited to mechanical mishaps this year. Farrell mentioned that following his start in New York, Price spent time working on getting more of a downhill trajectory on his pitches.

But Price doesn’t think his issue is physical.

So it must be mental -- but he doesn’t feel that’s the case either.

“Honestly I don’t think it’s either one of those,” Price said when asked which he thought was a factor. “It’s me going out there and making pitches. “

But when it comes down to the barebones, pitching -- much like anything else -- is a physical and mental act.

So when he says it’s neither, that’s almost impossible. It could be both, but it has to be one.

His mind could be racing out on the mound from a manifestation of the issues he’s had throughout the season.

Or it could just be that his fastball isn’t changing planes consistently, like Farrell mentioned.

Both could be possible too, but it takes a certain type of physical approach and mental approach to pitch -- and Price needs to figure out which one is the issue, or how to address both. 

2) Sandy Leon might be coming back to Earth

Over his last five games, Boston’s new leading catcher is hitting .176 (3-for-17), dropping his average to .395.

A couple things have to be understood. His average is still impressive. In the five games prior to this dry spell, Leon went 7-for-19 (.368) But -- much like Jackie Bradley Jr. -- Leon hasn’t been known for his offensive output throughout his career. So dry spells are always tests of how he can respond to adversity and make necessary adjustments quickly.

Furthermore, if he’s not so much falling into a funk as opposed to becoming the real Sandy Leon -- what is Boston getting?

Is his run going to be remembered as an exciting run that lasted much longer than anyone expected? Or if he going to show he’s a legitimate hitter that can hit at least -.260 to .280 with a little pop from the bottom of the line-up?

What’s more, if he turns back into the Sandy Leon he’s been throughout his career, the Red Sox will have an interesting dilemma on how to handle the catching situation once again.

3) Heath Hembree has lost the momentum he gained after being called up.

Following Saturday’s contest, the right-hander was demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket after an outing where he went 1/3 of an inning, giving up a run on three hits -- and allowing some inherited runners to score.

Hembree at one point was the savior of the bullpen, stretching his arm out over three innings at a time to bail out the scuffling Red Sox starting rotation that abused it’s bullpen.

His ERA is still only 2.41 -- and this has been the most he’s ever pitched that big league level -- but the Red Sox have seen a change in him since the All-Star break.

Which makes sense, given that hitters have seven hits and two walks against him in his 1.1 innings of work -- spanning four games since the break.

“He’s not confident pitcher right now,” John Farrell said about Hembree before announcing his demotion. “As good as Heath has been for the vast majority of this year -- and really in the whole first half -- the four times out since the break have been the other side of that.”

Joe Kelly will be the pitcher to replace Hembree and Farrell hopes to be able to stretch him out over multiple innings at a time, as well.