Feldman: Jenkins shows gambles do pay off sometimes

Feldman: Jenkins shows gambles do pay off sometimes

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 23: Cornerback Janoris Jenkins #21 of the St. Louis Rams returns an interception for a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

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by Brian Feldman / News 4 Sports

KMOV.com

Posted on December 24, 2012 at 9:25 PM

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (FootballStL) -- It's impossible to tell what is going to happen in the future, quite obviously.  It's impossible to know if what has taken place in the past is going to continue to happen in the future.  No one, to my knowledge, has a working magic eight ball that accurately predicts the future.
 
But, holy moly, did the Rams seem to strike gold or what with rookie cornerback Janoris Jenkins?
 
After 14 games - he was suspended for the one in San Francisco in what appears to be an isolated incident - Jenkins has scored as many touchdowns this season than Steven Jackson.  True story.  Four apiece.  Look it up.
 
Then throw in the fact Jenkins now has scored more TDs on a takeaway this season than any rookie in the history of the NFL according to Elias.  Only two others even scored three.  Those two?  How about Hall of Famers Lem Barney (1967) and Ronnie Lott (1981).
 
Kid's got a future, huh?
 
Now, a few caveats here.  First and foremost, everyone is quite aware of his back story.  He was essentially kicked out of the University of Florida for legal problems (i.e. drugs) and had to go to North Alabama.  The whole world knew he was a top flight cornerback in April's draft but no one had any clue if he'd be a good enough person/citizen to stay out of trouble and be available to the team.
 
Previous regimes here wouldn't have touched him at all.  Steve Spagnuolo would have taken Jenkins right off of his board because he didn't fit the "pillars" he talked to much about.
 
Jeff Fisher came into this city and recognized one thing.  This franchise needed talent.  And lots of it.  There just wasn't a whole lot of talent on board.  He didn't have time to start getting picky and overlooking really good - potentially great - players because of off-the-field issues.
 
I heard when the Rams did their due diligence on Jenkins the reports that came back on him were that he was a good kid.  He just gave into temptation a little too much.  That's something Fisher and the rest of management believed could be fixed with a little maturity and guidance.
 
Signing a guy like Cortland Finnegan was a great example of using veteran leadership to help nurture the youth on the roster.  Especially for someone in Jenkins' case.
 
Again, it's impossible to tell if he'll continue to stay on the right path and remain out of trouble.  It's impossible to tell if he'll continue to not give into those temptations that got him in trouble in college.
 
But if he does stay strong?  If he does stay out of trouble?
 
The Rams found themselves a potential superstar in the second round.  Not bad for a team desperate for some talent.

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