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49ers haven’t had to use their draft class yet

A.J. Jenkins AP

Thanks to having no significant amount of injuries, the 49ers are able to redshirt almost their entire draft class.

That’s not by plan, since no one ever plans on being healthy.

But the way it’s worked out, neither first-round wide receiver A.J. Jenkins nor second-round running back LaMichael James has played a snap. Jenkins got a uniform for the opener but didn’t play, while James has yet to be active.

They’re working hard, doing it with a very good attitude,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “And it’s just the same thing we tell them – work hard, have a great attitude, and you’ll get it. And they’ll get their opportunity.”

It hasn’t always been that way. In 2010, first-round rookie offensive linemen Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati started every game. Last year’s first rounder, Aldon Smith, played a huge role as a pass-rusher, even though he didn’t start.

But Jenkins is stuck behind Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams, Randy Moss and Ted Ginn, leaving few snaps. James is behind Frank Gore, Hunter, Anthony Dixon and Brandon Jacobs on the depth chart, and the fact a veteran free agent pickup like Jacobs can’t get in a game explains James’ inactivity.

The only draft pick who has appeared in a game is sixth-round safety Trenton Robinson, and he’s been inactive the last five games after getting some special teams snaps.

The 49ers can afford it because they were already good, and they’ve stayed healthy. Most teams don’t have that luxury, and we’ll find out in a few years or when they have to play if they were good picks or not, or whether the resources would have been better allocated elsewhere.

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23 Responses to “49ers haven’t had to use their draft class yet”
  1. cubsin2049 says: Nov 8, 2012 10:11 AM

    Even if the both of them never play a snap this season, Harbaugh still thinks they deserve to be first-team All-Rookie.

    Heck, he’s even petitioning the NFL to review the catches Jenkins made in warm-ups as counting in the regular season.

  2. kluuuuuuuuug says: Nov 8, 2012 10:13 AM

    Probably means they whiffed on the draft class…

  3. modellforprez says: Nov 8, 2012 10:18 AM

    so niner fans and anyone part of their squad should be very happy they are having a solid run of non injury play. some to most teams are ravaged by misfortune at this juncture of a NFL season.

  4. geniusfan says: Nov 8, 2012 10:28 AM

    The 49ers are a good team but they aren’t perfect. They lost to the Vikings and were embarrassed by the Giants.

    The point is that these rookies could help they aren’t stacked at every position and the fact that they haven’t contributed yet means they are coming along slowly.

    Now that doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t figure things out and become good players, but right now they are not and to say that the plan was to redshirt them sounds like something the 49ers’ public relations staff would say.

  5. garonm says: Nov 8, 2012 10:48 AM

    “Probably means they whiffed on the draft class…”

    Yes because 6-2 means they whiffed on draft day. Have you seen the team? There are no gaps to fill accept maybe at QB and even Alex is playing lights out with a ton of stats in the top 4 in the NFL. The Niners lost to the Vikings because of poor game planning. They lost to the Giants because of 4 turnovers and poor game planning. End of story!

  6. alexr5111 says: Nov 8, 2012 10:49 AM

    I’m sorry…but your 1st round pick should’ve played a snap by now regardless of how stacked the team is at a position (the one exception being at quarterback).

  7. dgreenfi says: Nov 8, 2012 10:50 AM

    That’s a good spin on a bad draft. No team in the NFL is deep enough even when healthy to not want to get any production from their 1st or 2nd round draft pick.

  8. hawkforlife says: Nov 8, 2012 11:04 AM

    “Jenkins got a uniform for the opener but didn’t play, while James has yet to be active.”

    So if your 1st round running back isn’t even active and Frank Gore gets hurt in a game that’s just plain stupid unless of course he’s a complete bust.

  9. shackdelrio says: Nov 8, 2012 11:09 AM

    It can be spun different ways. But if your first round pick hasn’t seen the field by week 9, and isn’t injured…that would be concerning.

  10. firethorn1001 says: Nov 8, 2012 11:12 AM

    I’ll give that James is stuck for playing time, but I find it hard to believe that a 1st round WR should be ‘stuck’ behind Ginn and Moss.

  11. raymondtx says: Nov 8, 2012 11:18 AM

    The fact that they are no offensive powerhouse might say more about their draft picks then them “not having to use them” since both of their first 2 picks were offensive players. Ask Alex Smith if he could benefit from a better running game or better receivers.

  12. billb49 says: Nov 8, 2012 11:32 AM

    Why are people taking shots at this? Please. Just look at the game day roster. They’re deep at both receiver and running back. Brandon Jacobs hasn’t even gotten into a game yet for crissakes. And Randy Moss has only gotten a handful of opportunities. If Moss is waiting, the rookie has got to wait longer. Come on.

    If they’re thin anywhere, it’s at OLB, safety and O-line.

  13. 76raiders says: Nov 8, 2012 11:36 AM

    Garonm,

    The reason the 49ers got beat by the Vikings and Giants had nothing to do with the game planning but rather because the Niners front 7 and offensive line were manhandled by the teams mentioned above. Alex Smith has played well in spurts but he’s not even a Top 10 QB. What gives? The Niners are a tough team, but something tells me you won’t be singing Alex’s praise when someone beats them in the playoffs. Good luck!

  14. jgarcia050 says: Nov 8, 2012 11:39 AM

    why would they be considered a bust if they havent played a snap yet?? Why would they need to use James if they have Gore with hunter backing him up..then u have jacobs and dixon as backups to the backup. Same goes for Jenkins. They have so much depth at WR already…ASmith cant spread the ball around to everyone as it is right now, so y dress him?? Let these guys sit back, work hard at practice and learn from the guys in front of them. Theyll be much better off for it.

  15. southpaw79 says: Nov 8, 2012 11:46 AM

    *Ask Alex Smith if he could benefit from a better running game*

    Better than number 1 in the NFL? Man you people expect a lot.

  16. jibberator says: Nov 8, 2012 11:54 AM

    I’m quite sure the rookies would have been in on the games that we were steamrolling teams, if they were active. These guys haven’t been active before games start, no one knowing how they will go, so you cant just randomly throw them in like its preseason. It is also good for rookies to get a spot automatically — it forces them to get better, mature, and learn from the vets on the team.

  17. goldenperspective says: Nov 8, 2012 12:30 PM

    A whiff? If they have not even played a snap yet, how could one say that? Sit back rookie, soak it all in, the culture, the play book, and the gameday atmosphere. Bottom_______, people like Randy Moss, Frank Gore, or Brandon Jacobs, will hang up the cleats one day and these kids will have thier numbers called.

  18. ninerswilldominatelikebefore says: Nov 8, 2012 1:40 PM

    any notion that the niners draft class was a bust is completely ignorant! they havent even played a down because the niners are stacked across the board u idiots do the research or atleast follow the team to know! the statement that if your first rounder doesnt play by week 9 should be concerning is laughable, yeah so rodgers/rivers didnt play the first year and they’re doing terrible right? i know theyre qbs but the’re plenty other examples. Niners are stacked and these players will fill holes next year depending on free agency or if god forbid there an injury! half these ignorant fans wish their team could sit on their draft class…

  19. jolink653 says: Nov 8, 2012 2:38 PM

    It’s too early to label them as busts but you have to be a little puzzled as to why Jenkins hasn’t even been on the field at all, especially because no one understood why they took him in the first round and he didn’t show up at all in the preseason…You don’t just “sit” on a first round pick unless that pick was a QB you want to groom and I do find it hard to believe they couldn’t get this kid some reps ahead of Moss and Ginn (who should be strictly special teams anyway)…James is a little undersized for the NFL but I still think he’ll be good when he gets his shot…I also think the 9ers had a couple more pressing needs than WR and RB that they could have addressed with those picks but it is what it is and I guess they can address those in the next draft

  20. realfann says: Nov 8, 2012 3:50 PM

    “That’s not by plan, since no one ever plans on being healthy”

    No

    Every player plans on being healthy.

    Try asking them.

  21. garonm says: Nov 8, 2012 3:53 PM

    76raiders

    Even against both the Giants and Vikings, the Niners averaged over 5 yards per carry. Why didn’t they stick to the run??? Poor game planning. I will say that both teams deserved the win because they outplayed the 9ers in both games…

  22. decon49 says: Nov 8, 2012 7:43 PM

    hawkforlife says:
    Nov 8, 2012 11:04 AM
    “Jenkins got a uniform for the opener but didn’t play, while James has yet to be active.”

    So if your 1st round running back isn’t even active and Frank Gore gets hurt in a game that’s just plain stupid unless of course he’s a complete bust.

    the niners only have one rb suit up on gameday?
    i wonder what hunter, dixon and jacobs are doing then

  23. alphabeta49er says: Nov 9, 2012 8:08 AM

    Jenkins at #30—veteran wideouts almost always better than rookie wideouts. And James at #61—he would look great if he could get on the field. But he can’t because the 49ers already have 2 running backs in the top 32 in rushing.

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