Multiple reports have the 2012 San Francisco 49ers first round pick A.J. Jenkins‘ job in serious jeopardy.
To say that Jenkins has underwhelmed thus far in his career would be not serving the word justice. Jenkins wasn’t allowed on the field last year until injuries hit the team hard and head coach Jim Harbaugh was left without a choice. Jenkins played in three games in 2012 and dropped the only pass that came his way.
In the team’s first preseason game, no receiver was on the field more than Jenkins was for his team. Rather than seizing the opportunity, two of the three balls that came Jenkins’ way turned into turnovers.
After finally catching a pass for the 49ers, Jenkins immediately fumbled the ball. Later in the game, Jenkins missed what looked like an errant pass intended for him that ended up getting picked off.
Jenkins later admitted that the interception was his fault.
Veteran standout Anquan Boldin said after the game, “if you put this uniform on, you’re expected to take care of the ball.” That was a clear reference to Jenkins’ struggles.
The second year wideout does possess great speed and has the advantage of knowing the team’s offense already over some of his competitors. However, expect to see new acquisitions Austin Collie and Lavelle Hawkins get plenty of playing time Friday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
If Collie keeps improving, he should be the clear favorite to earn a roster spot over Jenkins. Despite his injury woes in recent years, Collie possesses the type of pedigree the 49ers are desperately short on this year with the loss of Michael Crabtree.
Hawkins is another receiver with a lot to prove. A fourth round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2008, Hawkins signed a two-year contract with the New England Patriots in May before being released in July.
The 49ers are almost assured to cut at least four receivers off of the current roster by the end of the month. Jenkins looks to be regressing with the added pressure.
“”Nah, I don’t feel no pressure,” Jenkins said after practice Thursday. “Just [got to] go out and play football.”
Teammate, and all-pro tight end, Vernon Davis has publicly defended Jenkins and has been working with him on taking a more serious mindset and approach to each practice and game. For Jenkins’ sake, let’s hope he’s listening.