The San Francisco 49ers used the 30th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, but after only playing three games as a rookie (zero receptions) and putting together a disappointing preseason last summer he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for fellow former first-round wide receiver Jon Baldwin prior to the start of the season.
Things were not dramatically different for Jenkins with the Chiefs this past season, as he had just eight receptions for 130 yards, but he was in uniform for all 16 regular season games and finished solidly with three catches for a team-leading 67 yards in Week 17 against the San Diego Chargers. Jenkins also had a 27-yard reception in Kansas City’s Wild Card Round loss to the Indianapolis Colts, so he is entering the offseason with positive vibes that he did not have a year ago at this time.
ESPN’s Louis Riddick suggested earlier in the week that the Chiefs are “very excited” about Jenkins, and he may get an opportunity to earn a starting role opposite Dwayne Bowe next season. Kansas City lacks wide receiver talent in a major way outside of the perpetually underachieving Bowe, and it’s fair to assume some moves will be made this offseason in an attempt to rectify that.
Jenkins raised his profile in the eyes of NFL scouts on the strength of a strong senior season at Illinois in 2011, and it remains to be seen if he has what it takes to stick in the league long-term. It may simply come down to getting an opportunity to earn a significant role, and the Chiefs’ coaching staff may be ready to give him that chance during offseason work and into training camp.
From a fantasy football perspective Jenkins is only an option in the deepest (and rarest, quite frankly) of dynasty leagues right now, and that is unlikely to change much between now and draft time this summer. If he progresses toward a primary role in Kansas City’s passing game and is able to get off to a good start next season, owners in 12 and 14-team leagues may have to take notice of Jenkins as a potential waiver wire addition.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.