Jonathan Baldwin and A.J. Jenkins are both first-round draft picks selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2011 NFL Draft and the San Francisco 49ers in the 2012 draft respectively. Both have supposed major upside, but what I see in this trade between the two former first-round picks are differences in their developmental curve.
Baldwin has two years of work against NFL competition in games, while Jenkins only gets practice reps and has never caught an NFL pass. To be clear, Baldwin is further ahead in his development then Jenkins. The last two training camps have been marvelous for Baldwin, while Jenkins has shown little to nothing in terms of “getting it” as a professional wide receiver even at practice.
Maybe, all Baldwin needs is a fresh start where he doesn’t have the pressure to produce at a high level. But Jenkins was being rumored to being cut, and hasn’t shown much of the first-round pick attributes that you would associate with a second-year wide receiver.
In the end, the trade is finalized so there is no going back, but the Chiefs might have gotten Jenkins for nothing if they just waited, and they should have given Baldwin another shot at being the second wide receiver on a squad that is looking to rebound and make the playoffs.
Now all the Chiefs are left with is a potential Baldwin in Jenkins, but a Baldwin of 2011: a raw receiver with great physical tools, but no sense of the game. You can expect Baldwin to have a productive season for the 49ers. As for Jenkins, i don’t think he’ll be on the field much for 2013.
So who is going to be the Chiefs’ second wide receiver now that Baldwin is gone? Stay tuned to find out.