We're still a couple of months away from the NFL Draft, but scouts were able to get an early look at Nebraska offensive lineman Brenden Jamies at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
Jaimes had an outstanding career with the Cornhuskers, setting the record for most consecutive starts by an offensive lineman. He was also an honorable-mention for the All-Big Ten team and was named Nebraska's Offensive MVP in 2019.
This past season for Nebraska didn't end the way Jaimes hoped it would, yet he showed tremendous improvement in eight starts at left tackle. His contributions on the offensive line were a big reason why the Cornhuskers had the second-best rushing attack in the Big Ten.
Even though Jaimes was an offensive tackle throughout his career at Nebraska, the Texas native showcased his versatility at the Senior Bowl by lining up at offensive guard as well. That could end up boosting his stock for this year's draft.
We sat down with Jaimes this week to discuss his experience at the Senior Bowl, what's next for Nebraska, what to expect from Adrian Martinez and much more.
The Spun: You had a chance to return to Nebraska for another season, but instead you went pro. What led you to that decision?
Brenden Jaimes: The main factor was that I felt like it was my time to go. I had done what I needed to done as far as playing competition wise. I feel like I left my legacy there at Nebraska and I didn’t feel like another season would help that.
The Spun: You just wrapped up a week at the Senior Bowl. What was that experience like for you?
BJ: It was great. It was definitely very humbling, I’ll tell you that. Everyone there was a really good athlete, whether you’re on the edge or interior. I played a lot of different positions and I’m very happy with how that went. I played guard for the first time ever there. I feel like I did pretty well and I could definitely see myself playing guard in the NFL if needed, and I wouldn’t mind picking up a ball and snapping it either.
The Spun: You mentioned the great athletes at the Senior Bowl. Who was the best one on the defensive line?
BJ: I’d have to say the UCLA defensive tackle, Osa Odighizuwa.
The Spun: Did you meet with any NFL teams in particular where you thought ‘Hey I’d love to play for them?’
BJ: All of them, honestly. Anyone willing to give me a chance I feel like I’d be forever grateful for them. There wasn’t one specific team I’d love to play for, though.
The Spun: Who was the toughest pass-rusher you faced in your career?
BJ: There were plenty - at least two or three a year. My freshman year it was Nick Bosa, my sophomore year it was Rashan Gary, junior year it was Chase Young, and this year it was Shaka Toney from Penn State. I saw him at the Senior Bowl and played against him again. I feel like we’re pretty good friends now.
The Spun: There’s been a lot of pressure on Scott Frost over the past few years. Do you feel like next season is a make-or-break year for him?
BJ: That’s really up to the higher-ups, I guess. In my opinion, it’s just another year to get better than the year before. I don’t really have a say if it makes or breaks his career at Nebraska. I hope him and his staff do well because I really enjoyed playing for them and things of that nature.
The Spun: Luke McCaffrey entered the transfer portal a few weeks ago. What is a team getting in him?
BJ: I actually became really good friends with Luke McCaffrey. We’d hang out on the weekends and thing like that. As far as the type of player, he’s an energetic, lead-by-example leader. He was always one of the most energetic kids on our team, even as a young guy. He was one of the craziest athletes I’ve ever seen and had a great work ethic. There wasn’t a time where I didn’t see Luke give it 100 percent every play and hold his teammates accountable.
The Spun: Adrian Martinez is usually under the microscope in Lincoln. What should fans expect from him next year?
BJ: Another hard-working year from that guy. I think he’s taken a lot for this team and he’s been blamed for a lot of things he couldn’t necessarily control, yet he’s handled it like a real professional. I tip my cap to him and I hope he has a great year because he really deserves it. Just like with Luke, he’s a hard worker and is a great leader on and off the field. What I expect from him is for him to have a great year both rushing and throwing the football. He needs help on the perimeter, backfield and from the offensive line. If it clicks, he’ll be a great quarterback.
The Spun: Was it tough adjusting to playing at an empty Memorial Stadium this past season?
BJ: For me personally, no. I prepare the same way I always prepare, whether there are fans in the stands or not. If you’re not mentally and physically jacked up to play a football game at Nebraska, like if you need fans to get jacked up, you shouldn’t be playing at Nebraska. I think that has to do with the culture problems we’ve had there. As far as changes to preparation and mindset, there weren’t really any for me. I was going to give my all every single play because nothing was guaranteed this past season. I just wanted to make the most out of every opportunity.
The Spun: You mentioned culture problems. Is that something still lingering, or do you feel like Nebraska turned the corner this past season?
BJ: In my opinion, we didn’t turn any corners really. It was another frustrating season with things not clicking, and a lot of that started in the offseason. Older guys like me, Adrian and Matt tried to get those things right, but it just never clicked for some of those guys. As frustrating as it was, we had to go out there and continue practicing on Monday and get ready for a game each week. We did the best we could with the guys we had, but it just wasn’t enough.
The Spun: What are you hoping to show at Nebraska’s pro day?
BJ: Probably the ability to continue to be versatile. As many positions as many things I can do to help get myself on the field my rookie year would be better for me in the long run. I went outside of my comfort zone at the Señor Bowl and played as many positions as I could. Some guys stayed at the position they wanted and they did really well, so I tip my cap to them. I was proud of my performance because of how many positions I played and how well I played at them. So moving forward to my pro day, I want to continue to show I can play many positions at a high level and prove I belong in the NFL.
Overall, Jaimes showed a willingness to line up anywhere in the trenches. It's not easy to find an offensive linemen with that type of versatility. As of right now, he's currently projected to be a Day 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jaimes told The Spun that he spoke to a representative from all 32 NFL teams, so clearly he's not lacking any suitors.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.