In an effort to upgrade their weak receiving corps, the San Francisco 49ers spent a 1st-round pick on A.J. Jenkins – a pick many (myself included) believed to be a reach.
Now, at least according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, Jenkins may be in jeopardy of starting the season on the inactive list. Maiocco believes it is “highly unlikely” that Jenkins will make the cut, with the five receiver spots going to Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, Ted Ginn Jr., Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams.
Jenkins will likely see significant playing time in the 49ers second preseason game on Saturday night, and his performance could be critical to his standing on the season-opening depth chart.
San Francisco 49ers 1st-round pick A.J. Jenkins took some heat last week when Jim Harbaugh criticized his conditioning on the first day of rookie camp. But according to 49ers defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, Jenkins is in better shape than Aldon Smith was when he first reported to camp in 2011.
Sopoaga had this to say to the San Francisco Chronicle about Smith’s debut:
“I wish his agent would have warned him about this being a different level of training. I was kind of feeling bad for him when our first time last week he was running the hills and he was drooling, he was throwing up. I was thinking ‘Uh oh, come on now. Welcome to the pros.’”
Any time a rookie shows up out of shape it raises a red flag, but as Smith proved last year it is possible to overcome a slow start.
Posted on May 15, 2012
The San Francisco 49ers had a chance to fill some holes in this draft but reached too often and failed to add any instant-impact players. It was a disappointing haul for a team hoping to make another deep playoff run in 2012.
A.J. Jenkins is a talented receiver but was a huge reach in the late 1st round. He put together a solid 2011 season, but has always been inconsistent and had a history of clashing with his coaches at Illinois. Ron Zook openly criticized his attitude on multiple occasions. It will be interesting to see how he gets along with Jim Harbaugh, who isn’t the type to put up with diva receivers.
LaMichael James is a dangerous weapon, but this was too early for a player who projects as a career backup with character and injury concerns. He’ll have to compete with Kendall Hunter and Brandon Jacobs for carries behind Frank Gore, and could legitimately end up as the 4th-string running back.
Joe Looney was a solid value in the 4th round. He’ll have a chance to compete for the starting job at right guard.
Darius Fleming will compete for a backup job at outside linebacker behind Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith.
Trent Robinson could be a steal in the 6th round. He’s a prototypical free safety who could compete for playing time if Dashon Goldson continues to struggle in coverage as he has the past few years.
Jason Slowey is a developmental prospect who will be groomed to potentially replace 33-year-old Jonathan Goodwin in a few years.
I love the selection of Cam Johnson. He’s had a history of injuries which likely led to his fall, but could be one of the better steals of this class. If healthy, he’s a better prospect than Darius Fleming.
The 49ers whiffed with their first two picks. Even if Jenkins develops into a quality receiver, they missed an opportunity to add someone who could make a more immediate impact. But while their early picks were disappointing, they did find some value in the later rounds which could allow them to salvage something from this draft class.