The man who helped usher Janoris Jenkins into becoming one of the highest paid players in NFL free agency this offseason thinks that he is the top cornerback in the league right now for the New York Giants.
Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher oversaw the development of Jenkins, a second round pick by the then St. Louis Rams in 2012. Since then Jenkins has had some brilliant moments in his NFL career – he’s a bit of a gambler at cornerback who had 17 career interceptions with the Rams – but was also marked by inconsistencies as well as a tendency to get beaten on the deep ball. There were also questions about work ethic and focus as he frequently lost concentration late in games.
But after signing a massive offseason deal to join the Giants, Jenkins is living up to that big payday. So far this year he has four interceptions and seven passes defended, both of which put him on a pace for career highs.
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“It was a disappointing loss for us. He's an outstanding young man, one of my favorites that I've ever had an opportunity to coach,” Fisher said in a Wednesday conference call with the New York media. “With all due respect to the other corners in the league right now, it's hard to find one that's playing better than he is.”
The scary thing is that Jenkins is playing in a beat-up secondary. When Eli Apple returns to full strength and the safety situation gets healthy, the Giants pass defense could be rather good.
Already it is an impressive turnaround for the group. Last year’s defense was ranked last in the NFL against the pass but this year they have “improved” to No. 22 in the league in yards per game. But the impressive jump is that they are fifth in the league with 6.5 yards per passing attempt. So there is hope that when they get healthy they can take another step forward.
“There's some subtle difference in the scheme. Athletically, he appears to be in great shape, he's running really well. There were never any issues with him from the mental standpoint,” Fisher said.
“He sees things, he's hard to fool, he plays within the scheme and I can assure you, you guys have probably have not been in a defensive meeting room, but I can pretty much assure you that he sits in the front row because that's what he did here. He's a student, he studies, he competes, quietly. He's got great ball skills and he's playing really well. “