The St. Louis Rams ran out of cornerbacks last season.
They began overhauling the position by landing Cortland Finnegan in the early stages of free agency. They continued the remake Friday by using the 39th overall choice in the 2012 NFL draft for Janoris Jenkins, one of the most talented and troubled cornerbacks available.
"Jenkins is a big-time football player," Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. noted.
Another analyst, Greg Cosell of NFL Films, recently sent Jenkins to Tampa Bay with the fifth overall pick in a mock draft emphasizing talent without regard for things such as the arrests and suspension that dragged down Jenkins' stock among NFL teams this year. Jenkins transferred to North Alabama after Florida banned him from its program.
"My concern with him is that when he gets challenged and has someone get in his face, how is he going to react?" Steve Muench of Scouts Inc. said last week. "If he reacts well, then you've won. If not, it goes south quickly and that is the concern.
"From what I have understood, I wouldn’t say he was coddled or babied at Florida, but he got away with a lot, and when he was challenged, the next thing you know, he’s at North Alabama. There was talk of him firing an agent. I'm just not sure he's that guy looking for redemption. Some guys, you just cannot get to. Now, at what point does the risk become worth the reward? Maybe it's at the end of the first round. He is a top 15 talent."
The Rams are making a statement with this selection. Their previous leadership had softened the "Four Pillars" talk that prevailed when then-coach Steve Spagnuolo was trying to re-establish the Rams beginning in 2009. We can officially bury that mantra with Jenkins' selection. This is a calculated risk.
St. Louis needs talent. Fisher has experience dealing with troubled players. I like the selection because the Rams had so many picks -- three in the second round alone -- and Jenkins' ability gives him a chance to become a top-flight player.