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Chargers 90-in-90: S Rayshawn Jenkins

The fourth-year safety led the Bolts in interceptions with 3 in 2019.

Los Angeles Chargers v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Rayshawn Jenkins was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he attended Admiral Farragut Academy. He was a do-it-all player for AFA, playing significant snaps at quarterback, wide receiver, running back, and defensive back.

His junior season saw him accumulate 824 passing yards, 10 touchdowns, and a single interception to go with 647 yards on the ground and seven more scores. Defensively, Jenkins recorded three interceptions, eight pass breakups, four sacks, and a forced fumble. His senior year was unfortunately cut short due to injury after seven games, but his play up to that point still earned him three stars as a prospect by Rivals and ESPN.

It helped that Jenkins was also a stellar athlete on the track. During his senior year, he won the Class A State Title in the 110-meter hurdles and on top of taking 2nd in the 300-meter hurdles. Jenkins ended his time at AFA by winning his school’s Athlete of the Year honor.

After graduating, Jenkins chose to stay close to home and play his college ball at Miami over the likes of Alabama, Florida State, and USF.

Jenkins wasted no time finding starting snaps as a true freshman at Miami. He played in 10 games total and started a pair of contests. He finished his initial year with 27 tackles, his first collegiate pick, and three pass breakups.

As a sophomore, Jenkins became a full-time starter with 12 starts in 13 total games. He ended the year with 46 tackles, one for loss, three more picks, and three pass breakups. an abrupt medical redshirt year showed its’ face in 2014 so Jenkins didn’t get back to the field until 2015, when he started seven games and played in all 13. Even while splitting time at safety, he recorded a career-high 52 total tackles, 2.5 for loss, three picks, four pass breakups, and recovered a fumble.

Jenkins parlayed a his best season as a senior (76 tackles, two interceptions, seven pass breakups) into a Honorable Mention All-ACC accolade and an invitation to the Reese’s Senior Bowl. His play also got the attention of Anthony Lynn and his new coaching staff which caused Tom Telesco to take him in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft.

Through the first two years of his NFL career, Jenkins played a backup role to both Jahleel Addae and Derwin James. He combined to total 36 tackles, a tackle-for-loss, a half-sack, and a single pass breakup.

Jenkins earned the starting job in 2019, thanks in part to a lingering hamstring injury to last year’s second-round pick Nasir Adderley. He started all 16 games and led the Chargers with three interceptions. He also added 54 tackles, two for a loss, and four pass breakups.

Basic Info

Height: 6’1
Weight: 200
College: Miami
Experience: 3
Years with team: 3

Contract Status

Rayshawn Jenkins signed a 4 year, $3,062,209 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including a $662,209 signing bonus, $662,209 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $765,552. In 2020, Jenkins will earn a base salary of $2,133,000, while carrying a cap hit of $2,298,553 and a dead cap value of $165,553.” -

The Good

Jenkins can jump out of the room compared to other NFL safeties. He’s a long-strider that can cause opposing quarterback to make mistakes by testing him in the deep middle. He led the team with three interceptions in 2020, so we at least know he can make the occasional play, as well. His availability has also been huge for him, as he was only one of two secondary members to play in every game last year.

The Bad

Jenkins missed too many tackles last year and that caused him to quickly fall out of favor with the majority of the fan base. The Chargers lost a good deal of close games in 2019 - nine, to be exact - which makes those missed tackles, including the one thats ended in touchdowns, all the more pivotal. He’ll have to play with a lot more control in 2020 if he doesn’t want to lose his job to Adderley before season’s end.

Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?

Jenkins isn’t just going to make this team but he’s also going to win the starting free safety job once again. Adderley may get into the mix and maybe Desmond King will see some snaps there but it is Jenkins’ job to lose at the moment. I could easily see Jenkins start all 16 games again but the optimist in me thinks Adderley will wrestle the job away from him in the second half of the season. Jenkins’ athleticism helped him jump routes and sky for interceptions but he missed far too many tackles for a full-time starter. Some of those missed tackles allowed long touchdowns to occur and that just adds insult to injury.

Gus Bradley mentioned they may move Jenkins around the defense a bit more in 2020 and they may even play him a bit at linebacker in their Nickel and Dime packages. Does that mean he’ll have to gain weight again? Possibly. But I actually believe his skillset fits better in the box where he doesn’t have to cover a lot of ground to get to the ball.