Jenkins finished his college career at North Alabama after being dismissed by Florida following his third marijuana-related arrest in less than two years. He was taken Friday with the third of the Rams' second-round draft picks -- a pick acquired from the Washington Redskins in the deal for the No. 2 overall selection that was used on quarterback Robert Griffin III.
"I'm pretty sure it hurt, but that's my past," said Jenkins, who waited until the 39th pick to be called. "I've got a new chapter, and I'm happy to be a Ram now."
Rams coach Jeff Fisher felt comfortable taking Jenkins after the franchise did extensive homework, including scouting reports, combine interviews, a player visit to St. Louis and staff trips to Florida and Alabama to check on him.
"We talked to many, many, many people that had crossed paths with him since he was a young boy growing up in Pahokee, Fla.," Fisher said. "Every person we talked to said, 'Take him.' "
The low point for the 5-9, 190-pound Jenkins might have come in May 2009, when police used a stun gun while arresting him, and he was charged with arrest without violence. Florida coach Will Muschamp kicked Jenkins off the team in April 2011.
"That was my past, that was a year ago," Jenkins said. "I took my second route to go to UNA for a reason, to show people I wasn't a bad kid and I wasn't running from my problems."
Fisher has past experience with troubled cornerbacks. Adam "Pacman" Jones, chosen sixth overall by the Tennessee Titans in 2005 when Fisher was coach there, had problems after joining the NFL. Jones was suspended for the 2007 season for violating the league's personal-conduct policy after several arrests and has bounced around the league, now playing for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jenkins, 23, has three sons and a daughter. In a response to an NFL.com report that he used marijuana while at North Alabama, Jenkins said, "Rumors are going to be rumors."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press