With the deadline to declare for the 2024 NFL Draft fast approaching, yet another Michigan player has entered his name into the prospect pool. This time, it’s senior defensive tackle Kris Jenkins according to Pete Thamel of ESPN.
Michigan star defensive lineman Kris Jenkins tells ESPN that he’s declaring for the NFL draft. Jenkins is Mel Kiper Jr.’s No. 5 defensive tackle in this draft and projects as a Top 50 pick. pic.twitter.com/SCvzTBstnn— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) January 13, 2024
Jenkins opted to return to Michigan for his senior season after a breakout season in 2022. As a standout on Michigan’s defensive front, Jenkins had 54 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss during his junior year. He earned All-Big Ten honorable mentions from the coaches and media for his efforts in his first full year as a starter.
After mulling the draft last year, Jenkins made the decision to return to Michigan in pursuit of a National Championship. Jenkins’s bet payed off, as he likely would’ve been a day two or day three pick had he chosen to enter the draft last season. Surely though, he’ll be glad to have a National Championship, as well as another Big Ten Championship on his resume before he turns pro.
Additionally, Jenkins logged an additional 37 tackles and 2.5 sacks en route to more All-Big Ten honors (second-team coaches; third-team media) in his senior season.
While the season was still a success for Michigan and Jenkins individually, the senior did take a backseat to sophomores Kenneth Grant and Mason Graham at times, as the two enjoyed breakout seasons of their own. Additionally, Jenkins was hampered during the season by a lower body injury which plays into his slight dip in production.
Still, Jenkins’s combination of size, athleticism, and experience should serve him well in the draft process. According to Thamel, Jenkins still ranks as Mel Kiper’s No. 5 defensive tackle in the draft and could be a top-50 pick.
Jenkins joins fellow Michigan defensive stars Jaylen Harrell and Junior Colson in deciding to go pro. Meanwhile, Michigan is still in excellent hands along the defensive line with Graham and Grant next season.