When the Buffalo Bills studied videotape of outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins, they saw an impressive athlete with solid credentials going back to when he was in college.
That, coach Sean McDermott said Wednesday, was why the Bills signed Jenkins Tuesday after he reached an injury settlement with the Oakland Raiders.
"Just the athleticism overall," said McDermott, who has yet to determine whether Jenkins will be active for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. "He came from a good system years ago at the University of Florida (before joining the Miami Dolphins as a fourth-round draft pick in 2013) and (has) some of the athletic attributes we look for in our linebackers. He can run and he can diagnose and he's a very instinctive player, so those were some of the things we saw on tape."
McDermott said the Bills would begin working Jenkins, who also contributes on special teams, at outside linebacker.
"And the important part now is just acclimating him to our system and what we do and getting him comfortable so he can play fast," the coach said.
Jenkins said he was "extremely excited" to join the Bills. He believes their scheme will allow him to use what NFL scouts consider his top asset, speed, to the fullest.
"I'm really impressed with the organization, with the coaching staff, with how they got things running here, and it definitely seems like a good fit," Jenkins said. "I'm learning. (Wednesday's) my first day, so I'm still a little confused about everything, but I'm learning it fast. (McDermott) likes to keep it simple, so guys can play fast."
He knows one of the Bills' starting outside linebackers, Lorenzo Alexander, from when Alexander spoke at Jenkins' football camp a couple of summers ago.
"I've known him just from afar," Jenkins said. "I've kind of admired his play, obviously playing against him, being on the other side him (when he was with) the Bills (last season), seeing how he was sacking everybody last year. I mean, he's just a phenomenal player, somebody I've always looked up to."
How versatile a football talent is Bills third-string quarterback Joe Webb?
McDermott had to use a term from Greek mythology to describe him.
"It’s like a videogame, one of those shapeshifter guys," McDermott said, comparing Webb to a person or creature with the ability to change their physical shape or size. "He’s a quarterback, he’s a wide receiver, like whatever you need, that’s what he does. He’s a DB (as well).
"He does a really good job."
Apparently, the Panthers didn't think so and released Webb on Sept. 2. Two days later, the Bills signed him.
McDermott and Bills General Manager Brandon Beane got an up-close view of Webb's wide-ranging skills during their previous respective stints as defensive coordinator and assistant GM with the Panthers. Before the Bills' season-opener against the New York Jets last Sunday, Webb was warming up with the wide receivers.
So if he's so special, why was he available?
"I don’t know," McDermott said. "I mean, that’s a question for Carolina at this point."
The Bills should be fully intact at cornerback for Sunday's game.
Cornerback E.J. Gaines, who suffered a shoulder contusion in last Sunday's victory, practiced on a limited basis Wednesday and is expected to play Sunday, McDermott said.
It's a good thing, given that the Bills will be facing one of the NFL's top quarterbacks in Cam Newton. Rookie cornerback Tre'Davious White, who had a solid pro debut against the Jets, will start opposite Gaines.
Tight end Charles Clay (shoulder), offensive tackle Cordy Glenn (foot), safety Colt Anderson (foot), and linebacker Tanner Vallejo (knee) were also limited in Wednesday's practice.
Defensive lineman Jerel Worthy (concussion) missed the session.
Running back LeSean McCoy (wrist) and running back Mike Tolbert (knee) were full participants.