A.J. Jenkins to 49ers: Video Highlights, Scouting Report and Analysis

Jon SiddowayCorrespondent IApril 26, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 08:  A.J. Jenkins #8 of the Illinois Illini runs for a touchdown during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on October 8, 2011 in Bloomington, Indiana.  Illinois won 41-20. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

This guy can absolutely fly—with and without the ball. 

A.J. Jenkins posted a 4.41 40-yard dash, 38.5" vertical leap, and 10'4" broad jump at the combine, and looks every bit as explosive on game tape.

Despite inconsistent play at the quarterback position at Illinois, Jenkins hauled in 90 catches for 1,276 yards (14.2 yard average) and eight touchdowns during a senior season that saw him skyrocket up draft boards. 

He projects as a slot receiver but has the size to line up outside as well. The 6'0", 190-pound Jenkins uses his body well in adjusting to throws and has reliable hands. 

CBSSports.com has this to say about Jenkins' strengths and weaknesses: 

Strengths: Jenkins is a balanced athlete with good body control and hand/eye coordination. He plays fast and can create after the catch. Jenkins does a nice job finding soft spots in zone coverage and will immediately turn upfield after the reception. He catches the ball with his large, soft hands and is tough, showing the ability to hold onto the ball after a big hit. Jenkins is a much improved route-runner with sharp moves in/out of his breaks and good field awareness. He uses his body movements to sell routes and makes plays at all levels of the field. Jenkins has a very good feel in coverage and has deceptive jets to gain a step and track the deep ball downfield. He put together a strong senior resume, leading the Big Ten in catches (84) and emerged as Illinois' go-to option through the air - producing at least four catches in every game in 2011 and set a new single game school record with 268 receiving yards (vs. Northwestern, 10/1/11).

Weaknesses: Jenkins has only average size with a narrow body type and a lean, lanky frame. He needs to spend more time in the weight room and get stronger. Jenkins' lack of strength has been exposed in a few jump-ball situations and he needs to be more competitive in tight coverage. He tends to round off some patterns and will get lazy in this area, choosing instead to abandon his routes and freelance at times. Jenkins will hold the ball too loose from his body and needs to improve his ball security and cut down on fumbles. He will try and make body catches at times, which will lead to drops. Jenkins has some experience as a kick returner, but isn't overly effective or reliable in this area. The Florida native has struggled in poor weather games, especially snow. He got into a few spats with former head coach Ron Zook and the rest of the Illinois coaching staff, so pre-draft interviews will be crucial to answering any effort or character concerns.


Jenkins will see the field early as a receiver and return man. Look for him to struggle adjusting to the physicality of the NFL, but still make plays when he touches the ball. 

He could develop into a real steal in this year's draft. 

Analysis: Speed, speed and more speed. Reeks of a reach this early, but Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh have proven to take players with a special talent, and mold the rest into a finished product. With Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree, Ted Ginn Jr. and Mario Manningham, Jenkins won't have to be ready in year one. For a team with few glaring needs outside of O-line, this looks like a luxury pick for now.