50 best players in the AFC East
By Brian Miller
Sep 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins (53) tackles Kansas City Chiefs running back Joe McKnight (22) at Sun Life Stadium. The Chiefs defeated the Dolphins 34-15. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Jelani Jenkins was drafted in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft to provide depth at a linebacker position that included free agent signee Phillip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe. In 2014 Ellerbe was injured in week one and Jenkins was forced to step in. He did not relinquish the role. In the first four weeks of the 2014 season, Jenkins led the league in tackles.
In his rookie season, Jenkins contributed 17 total tackles on the season but in 2014 registered 110 to lead the Miami Dolphins in that category. He also added two passes defensed, 3.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Entering the 2015 season, Jenkins is the starting outside linebacker opposite 2nd year man Chris McCain and next to inside linebacker Koa Misi. The Dolphins believe that the addition of Ndamukong Suh will allow Jenkins more opportunities to pass rush and stop the run.
Jenkins is a very solid tackler and uses his athleticism well. He is able to cover receivers in the mid-range and has strong angle pursuits in run defense. He is one of the up and coming stars in the AFC East and could be headed to a pro-bowl career if he can continue his improvement.