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Niners draft Illinois speedster A.J. Jenkins at No. 30

A.J. Jenkins Pic Getty Images

The 49ers caught flak for “overdrafting” defensive end Aldon Smith and cornerback Chris Culliver in the first and third rounds, respectively, last April. Their 2012 first-round pick will also be billed as a reach, though coach Jim Harbaugh and G.M. Trent Baalke have earned the benefit of the doubt.

With the 30th pick in the 2012 draft, the Niners selected receiver A.J. Jenkins out of Illinois. Jenkins had a solid college career in the Big Ten, but his stock rose during pre-draft workouts with a sub-4.4 forty at the Combine.

Jenkins projects as a slot receiver in the pros. He’ll compete for that spot immediately with San Francisco while Michael Crabtree, Randy Moss, and Mario Manningham man the outside positions.

Last year’s playoff goat, Kyle Williams’ roster spot is in jeopardy.

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51 Responses to “Niners draft Illinois speedster A.J. Jenkins at No. 30”
  1. discosucs2005 says: Apr 26, 2012 10:58 PM

    Hate it. Why not a guard? Why bother with Moss and Manningham and Ginn?

    I know Harbaugh has earned the benefit of the doubt but I still don’t like it.

    Hopefully, I’m completely wrong.

  2. jvibottomline says: Apr 26, 2012 10:58 PM

    Giants will sign Williams to one day contract for ring ceremony

  3. stampede101 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:02 PM

    All these doubters about the Niners 1st round pick reminds me of one thing: Smith, Aldon.

  4. hitit49 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:03 PM

    Kick returner and Williams replacement. now trade up for Coby. Oline should be taken 4th and on like every other team do.

  5. cali49er707 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:05 PM

    i see a bit of mike wallace-torrie smith in this guy, that probably what the 9ER front office saw as well, maybe just wishful thinking!!!but i hope im right GO 9ERS!!!!!

  6. norcalmafia says: Apr 26, 2012 11:05 PM

    Wow…just wow..then again I felt the same way with Aldon Smith….

  7. jluns275 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:05 PM

    Jenkins is already an upgrade over Williams, who maybe seems to be damaged goods with poor hands & concussion problems

  8. TeamBalco says: Apr 26, 2012 11:07 PM

    Who?

  9. java49 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:07 PM

    I dont get it… why take a receiver that wouldve been available for one of there later round picks?

  10. rmc1995 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:08 PM

    Why has Harbaugh received the benefit of the doubt for draft picks? Jim Harbaugh has almost nothing to do with a defense that has been talented for the last three or four years. The offense is mediocre at best and loading up wide receivers isn’t going to make Smith a better quarter back.

  11. 49erdynasty says: Apr 26, 2012 11:11 PM

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Foxtrot Foxtrot!!!

  12. sanfranatic49er says: Apr 26, 2012 11:12 PM

    Come to think of it. It seems to me like he is taking a page from his brothers book and is trying to find the next Torrey Smith. Same kinda player. Run down field as fast as you can and get that deep ball. Not a huge player but hopefully he can out run them.

  13. 4t9er says: Apr 26, 2012 11:15 PM

    I knew that the F.O. will shock us again , but after the way Aldon and Culliver played I wouldn’t doubt Baalke again.

  14. phelbin says: Apr 26, 2012 11:19 PM

    How many receivers does this team need? I was hoping for Fleener or OL. Hopefully Harbaugh and Baalke pulled off another surprise win here.

  15. qcsfinest704 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:20 PM

    Nice pick. We just keep gettin faster and stronger. Ginn,Moss and now Jenkins we got some burners!

    49ers till the casket drop baby!

  16. 805_9er says: Apr 26, 2012 11:22 PM

    jvibottomline says:
    Apr 26, 2012 10:58 PM
    Giants will sign Williams to one day contract for ring ceremony
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Matt Williams? Or is there another “Giants”?

  17. jnova80 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:23 PM

    I’ll admit it, I didn’t know much about this guy. But after watching his highlights and interviews I became a fan. Good slot receiver, very fast, and a good guy off the field. A lot of people are calling him “a poor man’s Mike Wallace, and that’s alright with me. Hoping Niners move up and take Silatolu in the second round.

  18. dspohn55 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:23 PM

    Trust in Baalke and Harbaugh, faithful

  19. sjsharksfan11 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:24 PM

    As long as Williams is gone I’m happy

  20. nfl fan says: Apr 26, 2012 11:28 PM

    Did he just pick A. J. Jenkins?

  21. oaktown49er says: Apr 26, 2012 11:38 PM

    In Trent We Trust

  22. ninersforlife15 says: Apr 26, 2012 11:39 PM

    I love the pick. I liked Stephen Hill a little better but I think production had a lot to do with it. Look, WR was their biggest need. You basically got Moss for free and if he doesn’t work out then you can cut him mid season. If you do- do that then you are left with Manningham and Crabtree for the rest of the season, so the pick of a WR at 30 was the right move. There are going to be good guards in the second round that the 49ers can bring in to compete for that OG spot. OG A. Silatolu will be in the 2nd round and scouts say that he has more of an aggressive side than Iupati did coming out in the draft. And for everyone hoping the 49ers get Fleener, or are disappointed that the 49ers didn’t get him in the 1st, then you guys must be high. We have two TE that make our offense difficult enough for opposing defenses, so why would we spend a FIRST ROUNDER on a third TE who would probably only play 10-15 plays a game. The 49ers got a guy that can help them out immediately in numerous positions. WR was a great pick and the RIGHT pick!

  23. chasemutley says: Apr 26, 2012 11:42 PM

    Well said, disco.

  24. buffalomook says: Apr 26, 2012 11:43 PM

    Al Davis “saw something” in Darius Heyward-Bey. Sometimes GMs miss the big picture because they fall in love with a player. Does anyone see Jenkins going to anyone else in the first, or really even the second round? Good teams get the top available talent at the top of the draft and take chances in the middle rounds.

  25. jason49er says: Apr 26, 2012 11:46 PM

    He looks like a Torry Holt/Steve Smith hybrid to me. Holt with his route running and Steve Smith with his short area quickness and yards after the catch.

    He’s a versatile guy who can play in the slot or on the outside and can return kicks.

    Everyone scratched their heads at the Aldon pick too. If the front office was that in love with him before the draft and with the names and talent left on the board then I like that we got our guy, I trust Baalke/Harbaugh.

    I think we end up trading up in the 2nd for a guard. Konz, Glenn, Silotula are all still there, and Osemele too. I think this move shows they have A Lot of faith in Daniel Kilgore there.

  26. pantherpro says: Apr 26, 2012 11:51 PM

    In Harbaugh we trust!!! Raiders suck!

  27. jason49er says: Apr 26, 2012 11:51 PM

    And I’ve said it before, we should keep 6 WRs this year.

    With Moss and Ginn likely gone in 2013, Crabtree/Manningham making huge salaries that could put them on the bubble if they don’t produce, and then just Kyle Williams and Brett Swain, for a team that has struggled with offensive continuity for a decade now it’d be good to be able to stash on the inactive list a WR with upside in Kyle who knows our offense and has experience with Alex.

    Next year he could be 3rd or 4th on the depth chart. He’s still a young guy and signed cheap.

  28. trtflowers says: Apr 27, 2012 12:00 AM

    The kid catches everything with his hands. I see another diamond in the rough if used right just like Aldon Smith. The staff will bring him along slowly. Pretty good pick for the back end of the first round. We have to go interior lineman tomorrow night.

  29. nineroutsider says: Apr 27, 2012 12:27 AM

    I can’t cry about this kid who I barely know anything about, becasue I cried about Aldon Smith and he, Trent, and coach shut me up fairly quickly.

    You know how many experts had to visit their initial draft grade for the 9ers last year? They get the benefit of the doubt until they don’t. We have to give them that; they’ve earned it.

    It was still ‘Suck for Luck’ around here last year until these 2 took over. Instead of 1st, we’re 30th; pretty damn good! Should’ve been 32nd, but I won’t get into that.

    Now I need to find out who he is…

  30. omegaichiban says: Apr 27, 2012 12:32 AM

    No matter how PC anyone wants to get, one return man cost the niners the superbowl last year. he will be cut this year and maybe someone will let their season ride on a concussion/muff/fumble prone return man. Vinny Cerrato?

  31. raiderrob21 says: Apr 27, 2012 12:37 AM

    Makes no sense. Reminds me of the year Raiders took DHB and whiners took Craptree. Neither team needed over rated WRs that high in the draft. We both needed DL. After whiners made that pick 2 teams traded up behind them and took better players. They could have got this guy in the 3rd rd. the RB the Giants took at 32 should have been the pick.

  32. alldonesmith says: Apr 27, 2012 12:43 AM

    I don’t get this pick. Clearly we needed a WR, but they could have traded back and still gotten this guy. He might have even lasted to our 2nd rounder. Trent Baalke clearly has an eye for talent, but he is TERRIBLE at extracting value from his picks by moving around to take guys at the right spot. After the last two drafts he’s earned the benefit of the doubt, but I am NOT a happy camper right now.

  33. boodog4849 says: Apr 27, 2012 12:49 AM

    Depth at every position=SuperBowl Niners!

  34. golfnutt67 says: Apr 27, 2012 12:52 AM

    Keep doubting Baalke….. this dude know his stuff. Fear not 49erfaithful this will work out for us!

  35. ppc50 says: Apr 27, 2012 1:03 AM

    Sorry boodog, I’m from SF, but the Niners won’t make it to the Super Bowl this year. Harbaugh is a great coach and a difference maker, but their division is going to be tougher this year, as well as their overall schedule.

  36. jwilson8208 says: Apr 27, 2012 1:05 AM

    Y are the jags not being mentioned is a travesty

  37. justbhouse2 says: Apr 27, 2012 1:09 AM

    Jenkins??? Should have pried Mike Wallace ( a proven receiver) from Pittsburgh. Especially since none of the top three receivers (Moss, Manningham, and Crabtree) are not signed beyond 2013.

    Sounds like collusion amongst the owners

  38. randomcommenter says: Apr 27, 2012 1:16 AM

    Terrible pick. WR is the deepest position in this draft. You say he’s a poor man’s Mike Wallace. The Steelers drafted Wallace in the 3rd.

    Even if they fixed in Jenkins as their guy, they could have traded down and got him. The Bucs traded into the pick behind them.

  39. blackfootkiller says: Apr 27, 2012 1:35 AM

    What good does it do to have all these wide outs that can get behind a defense when you have Smith as your QB? It’s just stupid. He doesn’t have the arm strength to get it to any of these guys. Niner’s fall back to earth in 2012.

  40. detroitcityryda says: Apr 27, 2012 1:52 AM

    Good pick for niners I think this kid will be a beast one of those picks that can surprise the league ,very fast, agile looks like phillys jackson except lil bigger ,have a feeling he will give my lions plenty trouble in week 2 unless we grab a Jenkins too ,Jenoris that is .

  41. zillabeast says: Apr 27, 2012 2:40 AM

    Sounds like Jenkins was clearly their man for some time now. Once you’re fixed in on one target, you go get it.

    It’s not like any selection the 49ers made would have changed the 2012 season’s inevitable outcome: a sixth Lombardi trophy for the boys from Santa Clara.

  42. smcgaels1997 says: Apr 27, 2012 2:48 AM

    It’s the 30th pick…all their pics last year played and made significant impacts. The 30th pick…outside the top 15 it’s a crapshoot. Let the GM and coach do their jobs…from what I’ve seen from last year to now..they know talent

  43. 49ersgiants4life says: Apr 27, 2012 2:49 AM

    Surprised me but so did Aldon so I am not worried the 49ers front office knows what they are doing. I think he is a back up plan if moss doesn’t pan out which could happen. I think they need to get the DT worthy in the second round

  44. dmackdaddy says: Apr 27, 2012 4:35 AM

    Jenkins ran a blistering 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February to go along with a 38.5-inch vertical and a 10’4″ broad jump.

  45. jason49er says: Apr 27, 2012 5:40 AM

    It’s not a certainty they would have gotten him. His stock had rose since the combine and was being talked about in the 30-40 range and St.Louis had brought him in for a workout and missed out on both Blackman and Floyd.

    They could have moved back and maybe got him but they didn’t want to chance it.

    Whoever said he was a poor man’s Mike Wallace probably meant that he reminds them of Mike Wallace but he’s a rookie. I think when he took it deep he looked like Wallace but he has such a complete game that he isn’t a 1 trick pony like him.

  46. jason49er says: Apr 27, 2012 5:43 AM

    The pick reminds me of when Logan Mankins was picked at the end of the 1st and people were talking about him as a 2nd-3rd round pick, but everyone gave BB a pass because he knows what he is doing and Mankins eventually turned into an All-Pro G.

  47. joetoronto says: Apr 27, 2012 6:37 AM

    buffalomook says: Apr 26, 2012 11:43 PM

    Al Davis “saw something” in Darius Heyward-Bey. Sometimes GMs miss the big picture because they fall in love with a player. Does anyone see Jenkins going to anyone else in the first, or really even the second round? Good teams get the top available talent at the top of the draft and take chances in the middle rounds.
    *************************************************
    Al Davis ended up being right about Heyward-Bey.

    Jackass.

  48. 49erstim says: Apr 27, 2012 7:39 AM

    Gotta trust Baalke on this one. My 1st impression was “reach”, but he has helped put together such a young and talented roster that the pendulum definitely swings in his favor. In the 9ers WE trust!

  49. sj39 says: Apr 27, 2012 7:53 AM

    I guess after a fluke good season for a rookie HC and a career year for a mediocre has left the arrogant Niners feeling they are already an elite team and can reach and take projects in the draft. I say good.

  50. cuda1234 says: Apr 27, 2012 8:31 AM

    Spurrier produces two first rounders, Zook produces two first rounders, Urban Meyer produces … zero. Why does the media love that guy so much?

  51. briank1ne says: Apr 29, 2012 3:25 AM

    Jenkins was on a team that ranked 91st out of 119 teams in passing but he himself ranked 14th in the nation with 98.15 yrds a game. Harbalke. Knows the players better and watches way more film than any of you haters/doubters. He will get playing time and now alex smith is back to the spread

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