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Everything Kris Jenkins Said After Getting Drafted By The Bengals


Defensive tackle; Michigan

How has it been for you tonight to get the call from the Bengals?

"Tonight has been amazing. Nothing but a dream, surrounded by friends and family. To get this opportunity that I've been dreaming about since I was a kid. To finally make a name for myself and this Jenkins family. I'm just excited for this opportunity that the Bengals have blessed me with, so I can't wait to get started."

What stood out in your interactions with the Cincinnati front office?

"They've been nothing but amazing. Everybody in the Cincinnati front office has been nothing but humble, ready to work, about business, nothing but amazing toward me. I could just tell by the aura they generate that they're ready to get some championships, some Super Bowls and make great players. So, I'm just ready to be part of that culture and that tradition. I'm ready to go."

How much do you know about this team? Dax Hill and DJ Turner II are here. How much do you know about this club and how much have you talked with them?

"I know a little bit because I keep track with my fellow alumni being up there. Brad Robbins, Dax Hill, a bunch of my boys being up there, so I keep a little bit of track. I'm excited to get to know more guys and be a part of this culture from the inside. I'm just really excited."

Zac Taylor said that when they brought you in for the visit, they didn't have many questions for you. Do you remember what that conversation was like and how was your visit with him?

"It was amazing. We just talked life and we talked ball. I can already tell that he's nothing but a father figure and a role model. Somebody that's going to teach you and get you to where you want to be. It's been amazing to have that experience with him. I'm looking forward to more experiences that I'm going to have with him. Like I said, I'm just excited."

When you're on a top-30 visit, how do you know if a team is giving off good aura? How do you know they are generating some good vibes?

"You could just tell. For me personally, it's just that gut feeling when I was with them. They were nothing but authentic, nothing but about the truth and kept it real with me. I'm just blessed to have this opportunity."

How would you explain your role on the Michigan defensive line that obviously accomplished a lot last year?

"I just played my role. We had a loaded team all across the board. Every single play did what was asked of them, and I was blessed to be a captain on such an amazing team like that. We just did our thing and played ball."

You mentioned you were a captain, won a national championship. The Bengals just took another player (Amarius Mims) from a perennial national championship contender last night. Is that a conversation you had with the team when you were here with Zac Taylor and the guys about winning at every level?

"Yes sir. We talked ball and we talked about winning. The Bengals have a winning culture and they're all about winning. Nothing but winning. That's what I look at contributing to that team — bringing wins to the team. Yeah, I'm excited."

What kind of advantage is it to have a father who played in the NFL?

"It's nothing but a blessing for me because I'm blessed to have that knowledge from my dad and my uncle with that mentality to teach me to be a better player and a better man every single day. Regardless of what position and what adversity you face, to overcome that and prove people wrong."

Where are you now? Are you in Detroit?

"No sir. I'm with the family in my family's hometown of Belleville, Michigan. Here with the whole family."

Who are the defensive tackles you study and model your game after?

"Honestly, I model my game after my dad and my uncle because I feel like I have characteristics from both of them. We always watch film, talk ball with each other and just think of ways how I can improve my game."

Is your nickname "the mutant"?

"Yes sir. My nickname is 'The mutant.'"

What makes you "the mutant"?

"Coach (Ben) Herbert gave it to me because I just went above and beyond in the weight room and did things that people wouldn't expect me to do. And he said my mentality, how I carried myself, how I pushed through adversity, anything, is a mutant mentality. That's why he gave me that nickname my sophomore year and it stuck ever since."

I saw a pre-draft writeup that said you were a run-stopper at heart. Is that accurate?

"Honestly, I look at myself as a D-tackle and look forward to becoming a complete D-tackle at the next level every single day, every single year. Regardless if I'm a run-stuffer, if I'm an elite pass rusher, I'm looking forward to being the best at each and every single aspect of my game. I know coach is going to get me there."

Do you feel like you have to get bigger, stronger? What part of your game do you think you have to advance physically when you get to the NFL?

"I feel like I have to be me and trust the process with coach, with the team, be the best teammate I can be and completely buy into all of the resources they give me to be the best player I can be and be a complete D-tackle."

To what extent do people call you "the mutant"?

"To the extent that every single staff member on my team started calling me that my sophomore year, to the players, to the fanbase. Just basically how I try to carry myself every single day. It just kind of stuck. From that nickname, I try to embrace that identity that I've been blessed with."

If we go up to Dax Hill, DJ Turner II or Brad Robbins and mention "the mutant," they'll know exactly who we are talking about?

"All I would say is ask them."

What was the reaction when you got the call and heard your name?

"I can't even tell you. I have had adrenaline and have felt like running through a wall for the past day and a half. There's still adrenaline but just happiness and excitement. I just can't wait to be part of the team, get to work, prove myself and earn my stripes."

Five of the 14 picks before you were defensive tackles. What was it like watching that run and wondering when your name would be called?

"All I'm going to say is that I'm ready to prove myself to every single person that I can be the best defensive tackle I can be. That's what I plan to prove."

Both Zac Taylor and Lou Anarumo said they were squinting at your name in that defensive tackle run early in the second round. Did you have a feeling the Bengals were in on you? What were your vibes going into this?

"I'm going to be honest, I had an amazing visit while I was there. I loved my visit, I loved the environment I was in, all of the coaches I met. To be honest with you, I didn't know where I was going to end up, but I knew if I was blessed to come here, I knew I was going to have an amazing opportunity. That's why I'm nothing but excited to be part of such a great team."

Could you repeat the name of the coach who gave you "the mutant" nickname and what's his job title?

"Ben Herbert. He was the head strength coach for the Michigan Wolverines but is now with the Los Angeles Chargers, so we'll be seeing him soon."

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