When Cortland Finnegan signed a $50 million deal with the St. Louis Rams it was instantly clear who one of the team's starting cornerbacks would be. Who would start opposite him was a question mark. The second starting corner job was still up in the air when the Rams selected Janoris Jenkins in the 2nd round of the draft. Technically, the matter has still not been settled, but head coach Jeff Fisher recently gave a pretty good indication that the job was Jenkins' to lose.
In an interview with KMOX on Tuesday, Fisher revealed his plans:
"So you figure (Jenkins) on one side and Cortland (Finnegan) on the other."
Jenkins has not had much time with the team through rookie minicamp and a couple rounds of OTAs, but he has apparently used that time to make an even stronger impression on Fisher than he did during the draft scouting process. So what exactly did Jenkins do in early work with the team, work in which none of the players have worn pads, that made such an impression?
"Boy, watching his movement skills, instincts and intelligence...it's really going to be exciting to watch him play ... Well, he's instinctive. It's amazing to watch him. A complete understanding of what he's doing out there. He takes stuff from the board in the classroom to the field with ease. He's going to challenge a lot of receivers."
It's pretty clear from this interview and others, that Fisher thinks very, very highly of Jenkins, enough to pencil him as a starter over incumbents and veterans on the roster.
Being a rookie corner is not an easy task. Like receiver, it is one of the more difficult positions to learn as players make the transition from college competition to the pros. Transition issues make Fisher's words particularly encouraging, as Jenkins takes what he learns and applies it on the field with aplomb.
That said, don't expect a miracle. Jenkins may be talented, but all players go through a normal bout of ups and downs as rookies. That said, Jenkins might just turn out to be one of the better picks in the draft as the year continues.