Saints S Malcolm Jenkins Hopes to Stave Off Father Time for Another Productive Year

Last Man Standing! After the offseason retirement of Brees, release of Morstead, Jenkins is the last player from the Saints 2009 Super Bowl championship squad. Can the veteran safety hold off "Father Time" for another season of quality play in 2021?
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The New Orleans Saints went into the 2009 NFL Draft looking to shore up a porous secondary that had ranked 23rd in pass defense the year before.

They had used a second-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft on CB Tracey Porter to team with star corner Mike McKenzie.

New Orleans added veteran Pro Bowl safety Darren Sharper just prior to the draft in 2009. They entered the draft looking for a young defender to team with Porter, McKenzie, and Sharper on the back end.

With the Number 14 pick of the 1st round, the Saints selected defensive back Malcolm Jenkins from Ohio State. Jenkins played both safety and cornerback during his rookie year.

Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) looks to pass as New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) pressures. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY

Carolina quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) looks to pass as New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) pressures. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY

Jenkins appeared in 14 regular season games, starting six, and had an interception, forced or recovered 3 fumbles, broke up 4 passes, and recorded 55 tackles. He had 4 tackles and broke up a pass during the Saints Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

Jenkins started 57 of 64 regular season games at safety for the Saints over the next four seasons. In five years with New Orleans he had 6 interceptions (returning two for scores), broke up 37 passes, forced or recovered 11 fumbles, recorded 4.5 sacks, and was annually among the team's leading tacklers.

He left the Saints as a free agent after the 2013 season to join the Philadelphia Eagles. Jenkins earned three Pro Bowl bids in his six seasons with Philadelphia. He had 11 interceptions, broke up 58 passes, scored 4 defensive touchdowns, and helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl after the 2017 season.

Jenkins reunited with the Saints last offseason, signing a lucrative four-year deal to replace the departed Vonn Bell at safety.

He rejoined teammates quarterback Drew Brees and punter Thomas Morstead as the only remaining players from their 2009 Super Bowl championship squad.

MALCOLM JENKINS - 2020

New Orleans Saints strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27). Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27). Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Jenkins struggled early in the 2020 season, as did the rest of the New Orleans secondary. He was often victimized in coverage, getting burned by opposing tight ends and receivers or committing costly penalties.

Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen altered Jenkins’ defensive role after a Week 6 bye. Over the remainder of the year Jenkins was used extensively close to the line of scrimmage or employed in a double-high safety alignment with S Marcus Williams.

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30) fumbles against New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins (27). Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (30) fumbles against New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins (27). Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY

The New Orleans secondary came together strong, leading the NFL with 18 interceptions and finishing 5th in pass defense. A fourth consecutive NFC South title was fueled by a Saints defense that was one of the best in the league.

Jenkins tied for the team lead with 3 interceptions, equaling his career high, and finished second on the team with 91 tackles. He broke up 10 passes, recorded 2.5 sacks and 7 tackles for loss, and forced or recovered 2 fumbles.

The veteran defensive back played in 99% of the defensive snaps, marking the seventh consecutive season he’s played at least 92% of the snaps for his defenses. He has started 129 consecutive games, including playoffs, and hasn't missed a game since Week 10 of the 2013 season.

Drew Brees retired this offseason and Thomas Morstead was among several releases by the team. Their departures leaves Jenkins as the only remaining player from their 2009 Super Bowl championship squad.

New Orleans Saints strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) intercepts the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY 

New Orleans Saints strong safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) intercepts the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY 

Entering his 13th NFL season, the 33-year-old Jenkins is a team leader and provides invaluable experience for the New Orleans secondary. He is in the second of a four-year contract and will count $5 million against the team's salary cap in 2021.

As the saying goes: ‘‘Father Time is undefeated’’. 

Malcolm Jenkins is hoping to hold off that formidable opponent for at least one more year to help the Saints overcome personnel losses for another playoff run.

Follow Bob Rose on Facebook or on Twitter @bobbyr2613.

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