A.J. Jenkins starting to make an impression with 49ers

Jim Harbaugh was adamant last year when criticism abounded surrounding San Francisco 49ers first round draft pick A.J. Jenkins that the Illinois rookie would eventually become “an outstanding player in the National Football League.”

It certainly didn’t happen last season as Jenkins was active for just three games and was didn’t record a single catch. In fact, he was targeted only once. But with Michael Crabtree out with a torn Achilles and Mario Manningham still working his way back from a torn ACL, Jenkins is trying to take advantage of the extra opportunities in practice.

After a strong last week of OTAs and start to mini-cam, Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have been praising the work of the second-year wide receiver.

“[I] thought A.J. had his best week of football since he’s been a 49er the last four days of OTAs, which was the last week of OTAs, and he continues to build on that,” Harbaugh said, via Grant Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

“I think anybody that’s gone from Year 1 to Year 2, there’s a great window of opportunity to improve in a fashion that you’ll never have again in your career. You’re going from doing things for the first time to everything you, do you’ve already done it. Big strides can be made that way.”

With the injuries to Crabtree and Manningham, the 49ers desperately need one of their young receivers to step up and take hold of a spot opposite Anquan Boldin. Whether it’s Jenkins, fourth-round pick Quinton Patton, Ricardo Lockette or someone else, there is a clear spot available for someone to grab significant playing time. With Jenkins’ performance this offseason he appears to be the leader in the clubhouse.

“A.J., I thought the last two days of last week had the best days he’s had since I’ve been here,” Roman said. “Quinton Patton and Ricardo Lockette, they’re all stepping up. It’s going to be a continuing process. We’re trying to get these guys ready for training camp, to come in and compete and win a job.”

18 responses to “A.J. Jenkins starting to make an impression with 49ers

  1. So we still don’t know what A. J will be all I want to say is I have said in lots of comments,that the 49er fans and the haters. Who have tried to say because of 1 draft pick how stupid we are,because he didn’t have any catches as a rookie. Well I’m not here saying that he will be anything but I wanted to say this is a position especially in the NFL that takes about 3 years to get a good idea of what he will be,even a guy like rice took a couple years. Plus I want to say agian that when harbaalke drafted him,they had no intentions of him playing as a rookie. I believe they drafted him knowing he is a project. However a project with huge potential. I know a lot of ppl always say we reached,but he was rated as a first or high second and plus we never know what another team. Is thinking there are so many ways a draft can go. Plus the 49ers wanted James and he woulda been gone before we picked in third. Most analyst were surprised James was there in second. So I understand there thinking anyway A. J may still end up being nothing but we need to give him at least till year 3. Plus us niner fans especially should realize if we had given up on any WR/TE that didn’t produce by 3rd year than we have no Davis or Crabtree.

  2. If you can’t beat out an aged slow Moss, Teddy Stone Hands, Super Overrated Manningham, Fumlitus for some playing time and you’re a first round pick. No matter how much Jimmy tries to convince others…That kid is a bust!!

  3. “Only a year later.”

    That Kaepernick guy didn’t do squat his rookie year either. The 49ers simply don’t know how to draft and develop players!

  4. As long as this translates into in the field production for 19 games. THAT’S where it counts.

  5. If my team had spent a Rd 1 pick on a WR, I’d kinda want to see something from him by this point…

  6. oh yea, in OTAs he has finally showed everyone that he is a Pro Bowl caliber player only a half year later?

    Part of what makes Harbaugh the most whiney, obnoxious, pompous, and arrogant clown that he is, is his belief that he is smarter than everyone else.

    The funniest thing about that is the fact that only FortyWHiner fans believe it.

  7. I hope this guy doesn’t waste his talent.

    Cuz I can play better then him but I don’t have his height. If I did I would be way better then him

  8. We drafted him for this year. We knew we wouldn’t play him his rookie year. Coach has a plan and sticks to it. Although I would like to see a veteran WR signed or maybe a trade or something just in case another WR goes down.

  9. A lot of rookies stumble in their first year. Too much was made about what happened to him last season. With Randy Moss, Crabtree having a breakout year, Vernon Davis, and Frank Gore having another stellar year catching the ball out of the backfield, what was Jenkins going to do anyway last year? Now is his time to shine. Lockett has never caught on anywhere, so don’t expect much out of him. He just runs fast. Patton might do something. Williams is good in the slot and will help coming back from an injury. LaMichael James will probably have a bigger Year Two than Jenkins. Harbaugh will always want to run the ball first behind that great line anyway.

  10. realfootballfan says: Jun 12, 2013 11:03 AM

    Some people had him as the top receiver last year, so it will be interesting to see how sitting him will work out for his development.


    Who besides San Fran? That is the definition of homer statement considering Blackmon had 221 yards in one game vs Jenkins season stat line. Even Kendall Wright the 3rd WR taken had 600 yards 4 TD’s..

    I read many articles from multiple NFL scouts they had a 3rd round grade on him. I bet when his name was called none of you even know who AJ Jenkins. That’s just being real.

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