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A.J. Jenkins didn’t think he’d be a first-round pick

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When the San Francisco 49ers used their first-round draft pick on Illinois receiver A.J. Jenkins, it came as a surprise — even to Jenkins, who admitted that he wasn’t expecting to hear his name called on Thursday night, and didn’t believe it when the 49ers called.

“I didn’t know if they were joking or not because during the middle of the draft my cousin had called my phone, but he was playing with me. I thought it was another joke and it’s just crazy,” Jenkins said. “It was the 49ers. I was so lost for words. I was so out of words. I’m just like, wow, first round?”

Jenkins said he had looked at mock drafts that had receivers like Rueben Randle and Stephen Hill going ahead of him, so he assumed he’d have to hear those names before he heard his own. That turned out not to be the case.

“Yeah, that’s been the speculation since the draft began,” Jenkins said. “So, I just assumed watching the draft not really expecting to get called tonight honestly.”

Jenkins said that of all the coaches he talked to, San Francisco’s Jim Harbaugh was the one he felt the strongest connection with, and he’s thrilled to play for him.

“Happy isn’t even the word to explain how I feel right now. I had no idea I was going to go this early,” Jenkins said. “People say a lot of things, but when your name actually gets called, that’s priceless.”

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48 Responses to “A.J. Jenkins didn’t think he’d be a first-round pick”
  1. joetoronto says: Apr 27, 2012 6:58 AM

    Wow, I guess it’s safe to say the Niners reached here.

  2. thenoblebard93 says: Apr 27, 2012 7:04 AM

    If Baalke and Harbaugh are willing to take a chance, so am I.

  3. personalspaceinvader says: Apr 27, 2012 7:05 AM

    You always hear about family or friends calling a potential draftee on draft day as a practical joke. I would be so angry.

  4. thesaint257 says: Apr 27, 2012 7:06 AM

    It’s ok A.J. Jenkins. We didn’t think you would be a first round pick either

  5. mrwoodz511 says: Apr 27, 2012 7:11 AM

    I think they obviously liked him more than the other WRs available – and he racked up over 1,200 receiving yards this year on a team that didn’t even get 2,400 passing yards so that has to be a good sign. He certainly wouldn’t have lasted til their 2nd pick – but only time will tell if Hill or Randle work out better.

  6. jfodagreat says: Apr 27, 2012 7:15 AM

    So far as GM Baalke has hit the target with his picks last year he took everybody by surprise by what these so call experts call it “REACHING” for Aldon Smith that worked out pretty well………another big time thread in the making for the red n gold………………BTW reports had the Rams taking Jenkins with the 1st pick in the 2nd round if the niners didnt snatch him up………GREAT JOB Baalke keep em coming 6 more picks to go.

  7. amgdds says: Apr 27, 2012 7:17 AM

    Shouldn’t be long before Brandon Jacobs takes him under his wing and helps him reset the arrest meter.

  8. empireredd says: Apr 27, 2012 7:22 AM

    No one else did either

  9. bosdober says: Apr 27, 2012 7:28 AM

    People said they reached for Aldon Smith and Chris Culliver last year too. How did those picks work out?

  10. dhnf says: Apr 27, 2012 7:33 AM

    Idiotic comment Joe… Everyone said the same thing last year about the Aldon Smith pick and he gets 14 sacks as a rookie and 2 more in the playoffs…

    The only thing that is safe to say is Baalke and Harbaugh know way more about football than we do.

  11. dcalifornian says: Apr 27, 2012 7:46 AM

    Trent Baalke knows his personnel…people said last year that the Aldon Smith and Chris Culliver picks were reaches, too. The fact that I, and all the experts, shook my head in wonder at those picks and they worked out great earns them some credit.

    What he needs to learn, though, is that it not only matters where a player is on your board, it matters where they are on everyone else’s board as well.

    If you can pick your top-rated player, that’s fine. If you can pick someone else, or trade back and get extra picks, and still get your top-rated player with your next pick…that’s how you get the most value for your picks, win drafts and build dominant franchises.

    I think it’s pretty safe to say they could’ve picked Cordy Glenn and then trade up to pick 45 or so and still get Jenkins. That’d be winning the draft. This is just getting good players without much regard for pick value.

  12. tomservo24 says: Apr 27, 2012 7:49 AM

    Neither did anyone else…

  13. brooklynniner19 says: Apr 27, 2012 7:49 AM

    Reached? I dont think so. Some teams had Jenkins rated behind Blackmon. 9ers got their Mike Wallace type wr and now he can fight for playing time with Moss, manningham, and crabtree! Those same people who are saying they reached for Jenkins are the same ones who said the same exact comment about Aldon Smith(14 sacks rookie yr)*Whose got it better than us? … NOBODY!!!

  14. chalkruz1989 says: Apr 27, 2012 7:50 AM

    You know it’s going to be interesting to see coach Harbaugh making picks and trying to build a team rather than walking into the living room of a blue-chip and pitch the school. The pick for Jenkins was probably the second most confusing pick thus far. As much as its hurt me to say, the former HC of my favorite team again makes a trivial move. Pete Carroll and Harbaugh will have to leave their college days behind to be successful at the higher level.

  15. anthonioustheprettygood says: Apr 27, 2012 7:54 AM

    what a coincidence. 31 other teams didn’t think he’d be a 1st rounder either

  16. explosionsauce says: Apr 27, 2012 7:55 AM

    They said we reached for aldon last year and we know how that turned out.

  17. giantspunk213 says: Apr 27, 2012 7:59 AM

    Yeah that seemed like a reach, so did seattle taking Bruce Irvin especially when Coples, Jones and every other pass rusher was still out there.

  18. jbniner says: Apr 27, 2012 8:04 AM

    I have to laugh at the ‘experts’ who criticize the pick.

    1. If they could have traded back and gotten their guy, they would have.

    2. They spend far more time evaluating tape and players than you do.

    3. Just because Mel Kiper tells you so-and-so is the player one should take…it doesn’t make it true.

    4. Most of the mock drafts piggy back off one another and turn into an exercise in promoting the same players

    5. They know more than you

  19. vols84 says: Apr 27, 2012 8:07 AM

    Happy for the kid.

  20. 4t9er says: Apr 27, 2012 8:15 AM

    NFL teams have a completely different draft board than the one we see at mock drafts. He was graded as a late first round pick by the 49ers and the Rams had him as the 4th best WR, so we’ll only have to wait and see.

  21. dcalifornian says: Apr 27, 2012 8:17 AM

    “League sources told the Post-Dispatch on Thursday afternoon that the Rams liked Jenkins so much that his grade wasn’t much different than the one given Blackmon by the team’s personnel department.”

    I guess I was wrong, and the 49ers wouldn’t have been able to get him later…

  22. urfinished says: Apr 27, 2012 8:35 AM

    Lot of defensive 9ers. To the guy who said u have an insider saying the Rams were drafting Jenkins with pick 2.1 LOL.
    I’m sure the rams gave up that info.
    The fact is you could’ve traded down to get this guy. But The GM has a good track record so it could work out.
    The defensive meter can be toned down plenty though.

  23. urfinished says: Apr 27, 2012 8:39 AM

    The Rams were gonna take him.
    Just like the Vikings werent taking Kalil. LOL

  24. nyfan63 says: Apr 27, 2012 8:46 AM

    amgdds says:Apr 27, 2012 7:17 AM

    Shouldn’t be long before Brandon Jacobs takes him under his wing and helps him reset the arrest meter.

    ———————————————————-

    When was Brandon Jacobs arrested? I still don’t understand how this guy got such a bad rap. By all accounts he’s a great locker room guy and the Giants coaching staff loved him. He’s not going to be a game changer for the Niners but he’ll have a positive impact I’m sure. As for Jenkins I’d trust the Niners front office instead of worrying about what all the “mock-drafters” say. San Fran needs somebody who can blow the top off the D, Randy Moss probably can’t do that anymore – this kid can.

  25. joetoronto says: Apr 27, 2012 9:32 AM

    dhnf says: Apr 27, 2012 7:33 AM

    Idiotic comment Joe… Everyone said the same thing last year about the Aldon Smith pick and he gets 14 sacks as a rookie and 2 more in the playoffs…

    The only thing that is safe to say is Baalke and Harbaugh know way more about football than we do.
    *************************************************
    A blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while, dhnf.

    Like it or not, the Niners reached with this pick.

  26. bucthat says: Apr 27, 2012 9:43 AM

    For the guy who said who’s better then u?…… Did u get to the super bowl? Nope so at least 2 teams not to mention Baltimore the other conference final team had Suggs bend u over

  27. raiderrob21 says: Apr 27, 2012 9:47 AM

    R E A C H
    Reach is being polite.
    Hate the pick. They have other needs than WR. You cant tell me he was the 30th best player on their board. They supposedly addressed WR in the offseason. And no Ted Ginn is not one of them. RB OL DE QB are more needed. Spin it as you may, it was a stupid pick.

  28. edavidberg says: Apr 27, 2012 9:50 AM

    A late second/third round grade made no sense for Jenkins. This guy’s combine numbers were special and his production senior year was pretty special as well. He is extremely quick and showed great hands while at Illinois. I don’t know what else you can ask for in a receiver.

    Sub-4.4 receivers that had more than 1,200 yards the year before just aren’t all that common in the NFL draft. Niners are building a dynasty by bringing in so many receivers to address their biggest need. AJ could be the best guy they’re bringing in.

  29. elmaxoh says: Apr 27, 2012 10:06 AM

    @raiderrob21

    49ers need a RB ? Seriously ? They have Frank Gore who’s a great back , Hunter and they added Jacobs… what you want ?

  30. mikeflorioisadouche says: Apr 27, 2012 10:15 AM

    total reach. who’s gonna mentor this guy? Crabtree? Moss? And they still have Alex Smith as their QB. This is how they get help for him? He’ll be ducking sacks and throwing balls in the ground again this year.

    Typical example of Harbaugh and co. thinking they’re so much brighter than everyone else.

    I repeat… Alex Smith is still the QB!

  31. woodsidegil says: Apr 27, 2012 10:17 AM

    To the Raiduh sheep that have slammed this pick, how’s your #1 pick doing? Oh wait, you didn’t have one and wont’ have a #2 next year because you’re stuck with the pick six quarterback who will quit on you the first time things go wrong for him. Maybe you should bring back the head coach/GM/talent evaluator ex-coach your new GM dumped. Your team is going nowhere.

  32. asy212 says: Apr 27, 2012 10:18 AM

    Not a reach IMO. Rams brought him in twice, had Clemons (Backup QB) throw to him. After losing out on Blackmon and Floyd, Rams had him in the crosshairs for first pick in second round. Now Rams will have to gamble on Hill (only 49 catches in career)

  33. danospleasanton says: Apr 27, 2012 10:37 AM

    I love how joetoronto is so negative about the 49ers…HATER! I trust this FO and Coaching staff much more than some troll who has never played in college or the pros. I think it was a pick of want more than a need. Either way the 49ers do not have many holes and I’m happy about his speed and GREAT HANDS. This former player trusts the grocery buyer.

  34. greetingsfromminnesota says: Apr 27, 2012 10:40 AM

    Joe, the blind squirrel found the following nuts last year:

    Chris Culliver
    Kendall Hunter
    Bruce Miller
    Carlos Rogers
    Aldon Smith
    Donte Whitner

  35. harbaughwetrust says: Apr 27, 2012 10:43 AM

    @raiderrob- what do you know about REACH?? How about your great pick of DHB…he is working out great for your playoff raider team huh? Or how about Carson Palmer, he looked great last year too! Don’t come on to a niner column thinking you have something to add when your weak team doesn’t pick until the third round. What a joke. Good luck this year, you will need all you can get.

  36. stlrams39 says: Apr 27, 2012 10:46 AM

    I think they obviously liked him more than the other WRs available – and he racked up over 1,200 receiving yards this year on a team that didn’t even get 2,400 passing yards so that has to be a good sign. He certainly wouldn’t have lasted til their 2nd pick – but only time will tell if Hill or Randle work out better.
    _______

    Nah. I think they liked the guys they didn’t take better.

  37. mullman7675 says: Apr 27, 2012 10:47 AM

    I like Harbaugh, but I am already tired of the 9ers and their act. Big Reg will make sure the right team is on top soon enough.

  38. stampede101 says: Apr 27, 2012 10:49 AM

    Noticed a few of the cats calling this pick a “reach” are Raider fans. If anyone knows about a reach it would be yall…carson palmer for 1st and 2nd (potentially a 1st) pick. Yeah…yall would know.

  39. dhnf says: Apr 27, 2012 11:07 AM

    It’s not “inside information” from Rams personnel. It was reported on multiple sites including Peter King and Matt Maiocco.

    The Rams were going to take this kid next. They had him graded almost as high as Blackmon. Another team had him higher than

    This is from the St. Louis Dispatch:

    “One of the reasons the Rams were not overly flustered about missing out on wide receivers Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State and Michael Floyd of Notre Dame is they felt they have very good wideout options at the top of the second round.

    But one of the most-coveted of those options, A.J. Jenkins of the University of Illinois, was snatched away by San Francisco with the 30th pick — or third-to-last selection — of the first round.

    How coveted?

    League sources told the Post-Dispatch on Thursday afternoon that the Rams liked Jenkins so much that his grade wasn’t much different than the one given Blackmon by the team’s personnel department. Blackmon was the first wide receiver taken in the draft, going No. 5 to Jacksonville (which traded up with Tampa Bay for the pick.)”

    Also:

    “Sports Illustrated’s Peter King reported that one receiver-needy team had Jenkins rated higher than Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, whom the Arizona Cardinals selected with the 13th overall pick.”

  40. dhnf says: Apr 27, 2012 11:08 AM

    greetingsfromMinnesota > joefromtoronto

    Blind squirrel added a bunch of guys in FA and the draft last year that were considered “reaches.”

    How’d that work out?

  41. JSpicoli says: Apr 27, 2012 11:14 AM

    Barely

  42. NationalFlagFootballLeague says: Apr 27, 2012 12:18 PM

    BLEACHER REPORT GRADE = D
    This team is a one year wonder.
    have fun with this # 1 draft BUST

    A.J. Jenkins, Wide Receiver, Illinois

    This is a bit of a shocker.

    The 49ers had hinted that they wanted a wide receiver at some point in this draft, but A.J. Jenkins over Stephen Hill and Alshon Jeffery is questionable. Jim Harbaugh has earned the right to make surprise picks after his 2011 draft class played so well, and Jenkins does have blazing speed, but this is just a bit questionable from our perspective.

    As much as I like Jenkins, I liked him a lot more in the late second round.

    Grade: D

  43. sanfran49707 says: Apr 27, 2012 12:33 PM

    He Was Productive Thruout His Senoir Season So I Have Faith In Coach And The GM I Was Pissed When We Picked Aldon Smith Last Year And It Worked Out For Us Soooo F***It Welcome To Tha Bay Area Aj Jenkins Time To Go To Work Lets Get This Lombardi Trophy

  44. sanfran49707 says: Apr 27, 2012 12:46 PM

    All U Raiderettes Hating On Our Pick Can Eat A D***!!!! Who Are U Guys Picking???U Guys Got Carson Palmer In The 1st Round Of This Years Draft Then You Guys Are Drafting Him In The 2nd round Of Next Years Draft So Gud Luck Wit That!!!!!

  45. alldonesmith says: Apr 27, 2012 3:26 PM

    If Mel Kiper, Todd McShay, Rob Rang and Mike Mayock were such good talent evaluators, they’d have jobs with an NFL team. But they don’t. So when a team’s pick doesn’t match up to one of their “big boards,” you should probably take it with a grain of salt.

    I was upset with this pick at first because I thought Baalke could have traded back and still gotten this guy. But there are tons of reports coming out that the Rams had him rated almost as high as Justin Blackmon and would have taken him with the #33 overall pick if he was available. No doubt a few other teams had him rated highly as well, and I’m sure as time goes on we’ll hear a lot more of these kinds of reports. When you can pick a player you love while also depriving a division rival of that same player, who THEY also love, that’s two birds with one stone.

    The haters can keep hating. Baalke has shown the last two years that he has an eye for talent, and if he thought AJ Jenkins is a better prospect than Stephen Hill, Rueben Randle or Coby Fleener, I’m ready to give him the benefit of the doubt. Draft research isn’t a job for the people who post on this board. And for most of us, it’s not even a real hobby. So let’s let this kid’s performance on the field dictate whether he was a reach or not. Aldon Smith certainly proved the haters wrong last year.

  46. jfodagreat says: Apr 27, 2012 3:29 PM

    @raiderrob21 U should worry about ur sorry team instead of worrying bout the 49ers…….wait u guys dont pick till the supplemental draft (LoL)……..u are funny guy we need a Running back………if anything Oakland needs a RB since the one u got is always hurt………QUIT HATING Raiders fans bcuz u guys dont have quality picks this year in the draft.

  47. granadafan says: Apr 27, 2012 5:50 PM

    This is why fans or agents shouldn’t take the MOCK drafts of Kiper, Mayock, or McShay as gospel. They are self-proclaimed “experts” but yet the NFL teams wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole. To say a player is a “reach” or could have been picked later is a joke. Teams have needs and are at certain slots. Trades don’t always work and players may not be there when in the later rounds.

  48. 49erlifer says: Apr 27, 2012 6:28 PM

    1 hit wonder with a defense like ours you dont need much offense i think we proved that last year so to all the haters eat a D!@#. Niners forever!

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