Rashad Jennings (Kosovac/JagNation)
In the NFL, typical seventh-round draft picks rarely become impact players, and most don’t even make 53-man rosters. Rashad Jennings isn’t your typical seventh-round draft pick.
Last Saturday was supposed to be the best day of Rashad Jennings life, as some mocks had him going as high as the second round. Jennings spoke about his anticipation for draft day.
“Waiting for the actual draft, waking up everyday not knowing what will happen on April 25th,” Jennings said. “Also not knowing what type of recognition and success I would've had at Pitt. At the end of the day, football is football, and I feel like I would've been successful wherever I played.”
Jennings was asked how he thought he would react to hearing his name called.
“I’ll probably ball out and start crying, feeling elated,” Jennings said. “Being thankful for my family and truly being happy. After that, just focusing on getting on that plane and going to work.”
It wasn’t all it was cracked up to be for the former Liberty star, as his name wasn’t called until late in the seventh round by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jennings wasn’t the only player to fall much later in the draft than many expected, but now he has another chip on his shoulder.
“Not sure why he found himself sitting there at the bottom of the seventh round, but he was and we saw an opportunity to add a guy and we think he’ll come in and compete for a spot,” Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said.
Jennings isn’t your average small-school standout, as he began his collegiate career at Pittsburgh, but decided to transfer to Liberty University following his father being diagnosed with diabetes. An illness that forced him to have his leg amputated.
Jennings dominated his competition, as he amassed over 4,000 yards with 42 touchdowns. At 6’1”, 231 lbs., Jennings is hardly a speedster, but he has great feet and an ability to wiggle and get small in the hole when he needs to. His dominant career earned him an invite to the Senior Bowl where he was able to perform in front of each of the 32 NFL teams, including his future employer, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jennings spoke about his Senior Bowl experience.
“The coaching was the best, getting the opportunity to work with Jack Del Rio and (Cincinnati coach) Marvin Lewis was the best,” Jennings said. “I feel like I'm very coachable, and being able to learn simple techniques and tips worked wonders even in practice. Imagine what I could do in a real game. Plus, the pros come out and worked out with us as well, and Maurice Jones-Drew roomed with me while at the Senior Bowl. That was fun.”
Perhaps Jennings rooming with Jaguars star Maurice Jones-Drew was a sign of things to come, as the young back from Liberty could fit very well into the Jaguars plans in the backfield, as he is in competition for carries. During the Jaguars first mini-camp this weekend, Jennings looked extremely agile and quick, and the seventh-round pick impressed many onlookers.
“Rashad Jennings is a big, strong, powerful running back,” Del Rio said. “We had him at the Senior Bowl, he had a good week for us.”
Del Rio again talked about the decision to take Jennings.
“I just think we felt like it was a good fit. Value, desire for the roster- we want to make it competitive at those spots and feel like we have.”
There’s very little one can actually take from a non-contact mini-camp, however Rashad Jennings showed great feet and solid quickness, and he appears to be a player that can be a contributor right away, despite being a seventh-round pick.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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