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.”