We continue our series of forgotten Falcons by looking at Atlanta’s first round draft selection for all the way back in 2004 — Michael Jenkins.
While Jenkins never lived up to his lofty draft status, he still put together a very solid career wearing the red and black, spending seven years in Atlanta and starting 64 of 103 career games as a Falcons. He was the number two WR behind Roddy White for most of his career.
Let’s take a look back at the tale of Michael Jenkins in Atlanta.
Years in Atlanta: 2004-2010
Falcons Statistics: 276 receptions, 3,512 receiving yards, 20 touchdowns, 12.7 yards per reception
Jenkins never came close to a 1,000-yard season and was never someone who was a threat to burn you deep, but he still put together a nice run of seven seasons in Atlanta despite the fact. Jenkins filled his role as a possession receiver whose job was to take some pressure off of the number one target.
Jenkins was drafted to be a weapon for star QB Michael Vick in 2004. Despite the team’s success in reaching the conference championship that season, however, the Ohio State alum was a complete non-factor with seven receptions for 119 total yards in 16 games played.
That, coupled with Peerless Price’s struggles, led to the Falcons investing their first round pick in another wide receiver in 2005 — Roddy White. Throughout the 2005 and 2006 seasons it seemed as if both White and Jenkins would be first round busts, as each one struggled to establish a meaningful connection with Vick. Each recorded less than 600 yards in those years, leading our own Dave Choate to dub Jenkins “Oven Mitts.”
White broke out in 2007 after Vick’s departure, stepping up and leaving Jenkins behind as a sidekick.
The arrival of Matt Ryan in 2008 helped propel Jenkins to the best season of his career, securing 777 yards and the famous first professional pass of Matt Ryan’s career which went for a 62-yard touchdown.
Ryan’s steady presence in the pocket and excellent accuracy—as well as the myriad backup QBs from 2007—gave Jenkins new life as a Falcon. Outside of that 2008 season, Number 12’s other best statistical year came in 2009 where he had 635 yards (although he found the end zone just once). If not for injuries in 2010 he could have possibly reached a new career high in yardage (he had 505 yards in 11 games).
Jenkins played in four career playoff games as a Falcon, recording 144 yards and no touchdowns in those games. His best playoff game came in that 2010 Divisional Round slaughter at the hands of Green Bay, where he had six receptions for 67 yards.
Jenkins left Atlanta following that 2010 campaign and played for two more seasons in Minnesota before retiring. He didn’t go down as one of the team’s greatest wide receivers, but he was part of some fun moments.