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Rookies bolster Rams' CB situation

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

It certainly won’t take much for the Rams to improve their situation at cornerback in 2012 after placing six CBs on injured reserve last season, including the top three of Ron Bartell, Bradley Fletcher and Jerome Murphy. But if the strong early impressions of rookie CBs Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson are any indication, a dramatic upgrade could be in the offing at the position.

That especially appears to be the case with Jenkins, the second of three second-round picks from April whose off-field problems have overshadowed the top-10 talent many close observers believe he possesses. “He looked like the team’s smoothest corner in early camp work. He looks very fluid on the backpedal,” said one team insider of Jenkins, who more than held his own for three years at Florida, covering the likes of SEC heavyweights A.J. Green and Julio Jones before absolutely dominating NCAA Division II competition at North Alabama. “With Fletcher not all the way back from his injury, I think Jenkins has a good shot to start.”

One potential problem with Jenkins, however, could be his reported reluctance to abide by the team’s wishes to hook up with a particular advisor to handle his finances — a snag that apparently has kept him from nailing down his first pro contract.

As for fellow small-college product Johnson, who was a teammate of Rams new assistant secondary coach Brandon Fisher (son of new head coach Jeff Fisher) at Montana, he has also wasted no time raising eyebrows with his ball skills and physicality.

“I think they’re both going to be good players,” Rams QB Sam Bradford said of Jenkins and Johnson back in mid-June. “Jenkins is very instinctual. He’s made a lot of plays on the ball, and just — I think — purely on instincts. He just seems to have a knack for being around the football.

“And then Trumaine, he’s a bigger kid, and he really seems to have some range. Throwing one-on-ones against him … he was stride for stride with (rookie WR Chris) Givens, and Givens can move. I’ve been very impressed with both of those players so far.”

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