Yes, two sleepers at the wide receiver position for the Raiders. There is Andre Holmes, who burst onto the scene late last season, then there's Jenkins who has yet to contribute as a receiver. Then again, last season was Holmes' third in the NFL, Jenkins was a rookie.
The moment I first saw Jenkins in rookie minicamp, I knew the Raiders had stumbled upon a talented player. First of all, he was a quarterback in college at Alabama State. He switched to receiver because that's where his hopes of an NFL career lied. Knowing that and seeing how technically sound he was from the first day of rookie minicamp made him a shoo in for the Raider practice squad.
Jenkins went undrafted but was not among the priority free agent signings. This college quarterback had to come into rookie minicamp and prove that he was an NFL talent at wide receiver. He won a spot on the off-season roster and continued to go about his business trying to get in where he could fit in.
Jenkins was Matt McGloin's favorite target through much of camp. Both McGloin and Jenkins started out camp with the fourth team and moved up the ranks as camp went on.
The transition from college quarterback to NFL wide receiver is a somewhat common one. And for players who can do it, they often become very good pros. Players like Hines Ward, Julian Edelman, Ronald Curry, Brad Smith, and Antwaan Randle El just to name a few.
What makes them successful is being able to understand their jobs from the quarterback's point of view. It makes them a quarterback's best friend and a nightmare for corners to try and cover.
While he showed some good skills as a receiver in camp and preseason, it was his play on special teams that had him called up to the active roster midseason. He was activated week 12 of the season and the following week, he scored his first touchdown. It was on a fumble recovery he returned 23 yards for the score.
His work in kick and punt returns was approached with the same level of intelligence and attention to detail as his time as a quarterback and as a receiver. Some will choose to remember only his fumble on a return in the week 16 game in San Diego, but other than that, he was a breath of fresh air.
The past two seasons have offered some truly horrendous play in the return game for the Raiders. Knowing when to field a punt, when to call for a fair catch, when to take a kick out of the endzone, and when to stay away from it altogether - you know, the mental side of the return game - was what the Raiders needed and Jenkins consistently made the right decision.
Jenkins is above all else, a very smart football player. He also has speed and is a natural hands catcher. Jacoby Ford was the team's slot receiver and return specialist until he wore out his welcome and is now set to leave as a free agent. Jenkins has the potential to take over the slot receiver/return specialist role on this team much like so many of the aforementioned college quarterbacks turned NFL receiver.