Teams don’t give up on first round picks so easily, but in the case of A.J. Jenkins, the San Francisco 49ers are starting to grow impatient while waiting for him to become a legitimate part of their offense instead of just another player barely making it onto the depth chart.
The 30th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Jenkins didn’t catch a single pass during his rookie season, as he appeared on the field in only three games. Jenkins didn’t see a lot of action in the 49ers’ first preseason game (a 10-6 loss to the Denver Broncos), catching one pass for 11 yards.
In short, despite being a first round pick, the Niners haven’t been exactly pushing Jenkins to become one of their top three wide receivers, and even now, with Michael Crabtree out for a substantial of time, all the talk of Jenkins being physically gifted goes out the window because he simply might not be good enough for the job.
According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, the only reason Jenkins is still on the roster is his first-round pick status. He hasn’t been very impressive in training camp, citing at least six guys that have been doing better than him at the wide receiver position, and he adds pretty much nothing when it comes to special teams.
Yes, safety Donte Whitner and tight end Vernon Davis have been saying great things about him, but it’s not enough to get these compliments all the time. Maybe the 49ers should actually give him more time on the field, but if he doesn’t do well in practice, what’s the point?
After two seasons, if he’ll actually contribute nothing once again, a first-round pick status doesn’t protect you as well as it did in the past. Jenkins has been a very big disappointment so far despite his impressive senior season for Illinois, and he needs to make the most of the few opportunities he’ll be given to impress in this season.