Kris Jenkins listed as a top-10 returning interior defensive lineman

Michigan football will take a hit in the middle of the defense in 2023 after losing Mazi Smith to the NFL draft. Smith, who’s projected to be a second-to-third-round selection in April, was on Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks” list before the 2022 season.

Even though Michigan will be without its run-stuffer come 2023, the Wolverines retained starter Kris Jenkins, who could fill the void.

In 2022, the son of former NFL defensive tackle Kris Jenkins Sr., registered 54 total tackles and two sacks. Jenkins was third on the team in tackles last season, a huge improvement from his 22 tackles in 2021.

Pro Football Focus considers Jenkins to be a valuable returner for the Michigan defense. On Tuesday, PFF ranked the top 10 returning interior defensive linemen for the 2023 season and Jenkins came in at No. 3.

Like (Dontay) Corleone, Jenkins is a dominant run-stuffer in the middle of Michigan’s defensive line.

The junior’s 31 run-defense stops were tied for the most in the nation among interior defensive linemen, and his positively-graded run-defense rate was third among Power Five interior defensive linemen.

The Wolverines should have plenty of depth to help Jenkins up front. Michigan is expecting even more out of Mason Graham, who had a really solid freshman season. Rayshaun Benny is another who saw substantial game action and had a nice season.

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Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire