Tim Jenkins, like any other NFL prospect, wanted so badly to be drafted.
But after the disappointment of not hearing his name called, a late-arriving opportunity finally presented itself to the former Fort Lewis College quarterback, giving him the one thing he really wanted most.
Jenkins received an invitation to the St. Louis Rams’ rookie minicamp Monday and will be in St. Louis for the three-day event – which begins May 10 – trying to earn a spot on the training camp roster.
“My agent called this morning at 9, and he was just like, ‘Are you ready to roll?’” Jenkins said.
Jenkins fought injuries his senior year and played in just six games, in which he completed 161 of 301 passes for 1,817 yards and eight touchdowns with eight interceptions. But he finished third in school history with 8,857 passing yards, fourth with 47 touchdown passes and second in completion percentage at .583.
The Rams have three quarterbacks listed on the active roster at present – Sam Bradford, Kellen Clemens and Austin Davis – which could bode well for Jenkins’ chances to land with the team beyond the minicamp. And if he doesn’t stick with St. Louis, an impressive weekend could open doors for the quarterback with other squads.
“I’m just thankful for an opportunity to chase your dream and live your dream. ... They have three quarterbacks on the roster right now, so I have a good opportunity to go in and play well in rookie camp, then have a shot at coming back for training camp,” Jenkins said.
If he’s able to stick for training camp in St. Louis, the sledding gets even tougher. Bradford is hands-down the starter, and Clemens, while not putting forth eye-popping numbers in his career, is a veteran backup with plenty of NFL experience. It’d likely be a battle between Jenkins and fellow rookie Austin Davis, an undrafted free agent, for the third spot on the depth chart.
Jenkins was hopeful he’d be drafted, and he said that a couple of teams told him to “wait by the phone on draft day.” But in a down year for quarterbacks in the draft, teams mostly stayed away from players at the position, creating a logjam that took some time to clear.
“And when you’ve got guys like (former Tennessee quarterback) Tyler Bray sitting out there in free agency, you have to let those guys kind of clear the market,” Jenkins said.
The ThunderRidge High School product at least will get the opportunity to see somewhere new. Jenkins said Nebraska is as far east as he’s ever traveled, adding that he was warned about the Midwest’s high humidity come the summer. But, should he make the 53-man roster, at least he’ll get to avoid too many games in the snow and cold.
“The good thing is they at least play in a dome, so those snow games I played in Durango, I won’t have to do those anymore,” he said with a laugh.
But now, there’s just the next opportunity, one provided by the work put forth in combines and pro days and tryouts, by 40-yard dashes and cone drills. The one job interview he’s wanted most.
“Now, everything is equal,” Jenkins said. “Now you don’t have teams that have 15 more scholarships than you. Everybody’s played the game, and everybody’s professional.”