I could see 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins getting cut. He has been beyond frustrating from everything I have heard, and this could be a case where the team just takes its losses and moves on.
In this article, Jason La Canfora suggests the 49ers could cut last year’s first round pick, A.J. Jenkins. Is this just preseason hyperbole or is it a legitimate possibility?
Put me in the “legitimate possibility” category. The news from 49ers training camp is consistently negative, and he managed just one catch in San Francisco’s first preseason game this year. Last preseason he managed only 4 catches for 63 yards in the first three games, something Matthew Freedman suggests is not a good sign. He went on, of course, to record no catches while appearing in only three games during the 2012 regular season.
Since 1983, there have been 110 wide receivers drafted in the first round. As a cohort, they averaged 8.9 PPR fantasy points/game in their second season. Excluding Jenkins, here’s how some subsets of this cohort performed.
11 others had no starts during their rookie season. Only one (Johnnie Morton) produced more than 9 PPR fantasy points/game in their sophomore campaign. The average second year performance was 4.77 points/game. Of the 11, only three (Morton, O.J. McDuffie, and Santana Moss) had more than a single season of fantasy relevance later in their careers.
28 players recorded fewer than 20 receptions during their rookie season. Only 2 of them (Herman Moore and Robert Meachem) averaged more than 10 fantasy points/game in their sophomore season. As a group they averaged 5.1 points/game. Only half of them went on to have more than a single season of fantasy relevance later in their careers.
35 players recorded fewer than 300 yards during their rookie campaign. Only 4 (Meachem, Moore, Plaxico Burress and Demaryius Thomas) recorded more than 10 fantasy points/game in their sophomore season. They averaged 5.25 points/game. Fifteen of them managed more than a single season of future fantasy relevance.
Finally, let’s compare Jenkins to the most physically similar first round WRs in this cohort. This table shows Jenkins along with all the other players who were within 1 inch and 5 pounds of A.J. Jenkins.
|Player||Year||Age||Ht||Wt||G||GS||Rec||Yds||Y/R||TD||Y/G||2nd Yr FP/G|
This table appears to offer at least some hope for Jenkins. Most of the names are recognizable, and most have been fantasy useful at some point in their careers. But all of those significantly outperformed him on multiple measures during their rookie seasons.
This isn’t a definitive study – Jenkins could of course go on to have a fine season, or career. But it certainly seems unlikely based on historical comparisons. Suggestion? If Jenkins doesn’t right the ship in the preseason you would be justified in cutting bait.