Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 NFL Draft: Breaking Down the San Francisco 49ers' Selection of A.J. Jenkins

Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke were not kidding when they said they had one player in mind at the 30th overall pick in the NFL Draft.

No one was going to take A.J. Jenkins before the 30th overall pick on Thursday night.

Was it a reach to take Illinois wide receiver Jenkins with a first round pick?

Not if you ask the 49ers, who it sounds like had their sights set on him from the very beginning.

To sum up Jenkins' skills, not much is actually known about him other than he was predicted as a mid to late-second round draft choice.  He does have blazing fast speed -- he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine -- and he is extremely bright, as he was named to the Academic All-Big 10 team.

There are also several knocks on him, one of which is the fact he does not show that 4.39-second speed on the field with the ball in his hands, which is very believable.

Baalke said other teams definitely had their sights set on him early in the second round, so they took the chance and snatched him up while they had the chance.  But they also passed up on higher-ranked wide receivers, such as Alshon Jeffrey, Stephen Hill and Rueben Randle.

However, he is the quintessential pick Harbaugh and Baalke were looking for.  A player with good character, smart and has speed -- exactly what the 49ers like in a football player.

I will say this -- no one should doubt Baalke or Harbaugh unless otherwise instructed to.  They have accumulated enough respect in the NFL Draft with their selection of Aldon Smith to save them for at least the next few years.

I will also say this -- the last time a Bay Area team reached for a speedy wide receiver in the draft was the Oakland Raiders with Darius Heyward-Bey in 2009.

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