Can AJ Jenkins Avoid Becoming San Francisco 49ers' First Colossal Error of Trent Baalke Era?

By Thomas Emerick
AJ Jenkins
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

And the weight of the San Francisco 49ers‘ world remains on AJ Jenkins‘ unproven shoulders.

The second-year receiver had already taken a bit longer to develop into an immediate-impact player than Niners fans and (probably) front office would have liked, and now 2013 is demanding an instant return on investment thanks to injury issues facing top receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham.

Countless reporters and columnists covering the 49ers are speculating on whether Jenkins, who recorded no catches in Monday’s practice according to CSN’s Matt Maiocco, will even make the regular season roster just one after becoming the team’s top draft pick. Fumbling off his only reception in the first preseason game of 2013 didn’t help either.

Jenkins caught zero passes and only received one target last season and it would be extremely beneficial for San Fran if he were to step up in year two. At the same time, most NFL franchises will typically ride first-round picks well past the point of a minor sunken cost. It seems admitting complete disaster on first-round picks is a thing that is far too tough for front offices to swallow soon thereafter.

It will be interesting to see how Niners general manager Trent Baalke handles the first potential albatross in his time at the commanding seat in this proud organization. Baalke has truly been the class of general managers over the past few years — and even before he was promoted up to Niners GM in 2011 — along with Seattle Seahawks GM John Schneider and you could argue a couple others.

It would be interesting to see how Baalke handles his first true failure; That is if Jenkins ends up a failure with San Fran, and not merely a late-bloomer.

Thomas Emerick is a Senior Writer for Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEmerick, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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