Tim Jennings, a one-time commitment to South Carolina State, was the first Georgia player selected in this weekend’s NFL Draft. The 5-foot-8, 186-pound cornerback wasn’t expected to be selected until today, when rounds four through seven are held, but the Colts took him in the second round, with the 62nd overall pick.
“I’m so excited right now,” Jennings told Colts.com. Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy “told me it wasn’t about the size or where you were drafted at, it was about what you’re capable of doing.”
Jennings was the smallest player selected in the first two rounds of the draft. Ironically, 6-foot-8 Bulldog tight end Leonard Pope was the tallest player picked Saturday when the Arizona Cardinals in the third round (72nd overall). Offensive guard Max Jean-Gilles likely went to bed upset Saturday as he was expected to be chosen but was not. Jean-Gilles would have been the heaviest player selected Saturday (356 pounds), and it’s possible concerns about his weight pushed him out of the top three rounds.
Now, he’ll have to wait today along with other Georgia draft hopefuls Greg Blue, D.J. Shockley, DeMario Minter and Dennis Roland.
The Colts, who have drafted players considered small for their position before, aren’t worried about Jennings’ size.
“He’s just short,” team president Bill Polian told Colts.com. “He’s not small. We think it’s an upgrade in the secondary for us.”
Jennings, a native of Orangeburg, S.C., led the Bulldogs with four interceptions in 2005 and had 10 in his career. He was named first-team All-SEC as a senior and turned heads by running a 4.38 40-yard dash at February’s NFL Combine.
“I think we’ve just added another fast, tough guy,” Dungy told Colts.com.
Sneaking up on people is nothing new to Jennings. He wasn’t offered a scholarship by Georgia until the night before signing day due to fears about his size.
“I’ve been going through it my whole life,” he said. “It really didn’t bother me. I’ve just taken it as a motivation. I feel like I can play with anybody. That’s why I went to Georgia and did what I did.”
There have never been any concerns about Pope’s size. In fact, it’s his biggest asset. He was projected by most analysts to be the first Georgia player selected this year. Instead, he was the sixth tight end drafted, behind Maryland’s Vernon Davis, UCLA’s Marcedes Lewis, Colorado’s Joe Klopfenstein, Notre Dame’s Anthony Fasano and Western Michigan’s Tony Scheffler.