Reports out of the Bay Area are saying that AJ Jenkins isn’t looking all that grand. The 49ers rookie has participated in both the rookie minicamp and also some OTA’s and word is AJ Jenkins is sucking ass.
According to Grant Cohn of the Press Democrat, AJ is playing like the worst wide receiver on the field.
The Niners’ first-round pick looked like one of the worst wide receivers on the field most of minicamp. He didn’t play with the first- or second-team offense on Tuesday, and he didn’t catch a pass in scrimmages on Wednesday. He had trouble staying on his feet all three days, which was odd considering it was a non-contact minicamp.
Overall, undrafted receivers Nathan Palmer and Brian Tyms caught many more passes and made more impressive plays than Jenkins did. There’s no rush for Jenkins to produce, though, because there seem to be at least four good wide receivers above him on the depth chart right now — [Michael] Crabtree, [Randy] Moss, [Mario] Manningham and [Kyle] Williams.
I’m not Grant’s biggest fan, so I was skeptical at first, but after reading somewhat the same analysis from Matt Barrows, you have to wonder what is up with AJ.
Jenkins had a rough spring. He had a hard time staying on his feet, fighting for position and often – very often — was on the ground after the play. And this was in non-contact practices.
On draft day, GM Trent Baalke acknowledged that Jenkins needed to hit the weight room, and that need for improved strength was evident. To his credit, Jenkins didn’t have any of the ticky tacky injuries that often befall wide receivers, especially young ones, in the offseason. And he continued to fight throughout the spring sessions. It will be interesting to look for progress from him when the pads come on in training camp.
I know it’s still early to think the sky is falling, but you have to wonder if AJ can turn it around and give the 49ers the help they need at the wide out position.
At this point Coach Harbaugh isn’t concerned.
“He’s very into it, very gung-ho,” Harbaugh told the media on Thursday. “Very fast — fast, fast. Excellent hands. He’s got the ability to get in and out of cuts with his foot speed and turn over. He doesn’t get stuck at the top of routes, he’s able to get out of those cuts. He’s right on track. A.J. Jenkins is going to be just fine.”
One thing is for certain after these reports, the team, the fans and the media will be watching Jenkins closer than ever. Now let’s see how the rookie responds to the pressure.