A.J. Jenkins: Breaking Down New Chiefs WR

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

As mostly everybody in Chiefs Kingdom should know by now, Kansas City has traded away Jon Baldwin to San Francisco. If the sun seemed to be shining a bit brighter today, that’s probably why.

In return, the Chiefs got back another wideout: A.J. Jenkins.

Baldwin was largely a disappointment during his time with Kansas City, so one can assume that the change will be rather refreshing for Addicts across the country. Kansas City’s head coach, Andy Reid, discussed the trade recently with the media:

 As you know we made a trade yesterday: Jon Baldwin for AJ Jenkins. We think actually this will be good for both teams. I appreciated the work that Jon did here. He busted his tail and came back in great shape. It just didn’t work out for him here, and we were able to give him a new start in San Francisco with a good football team and we’re able to bring AJ over here. I will tell you, as far as similar situations, their game is different. For what San Francisco is looking for, I think Jon will fit right in that program. And what we’re looking for here, I think AJ will fit in and it will give both of them a fresh start on a career. I look forward to working with AJ, and I wish Jon the best of luck with his new start.”

Fresh starts seem to be the theme of this trade, though to be frank, Jenkins never got off to much of a start with San Francisco to begin with. After being drafted in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft by the 49ers, Jenkins went on to put up a stat line of zeros across the board in year one of his career. Jenkins did see the field in three games, but his production was rather underwhelming.

With that said, Jenkins is a wideout who coach Reid had some good things to say about:

His strengths are his ability to run down the field, he’s got good hands, he’s a smart kid and a good person. That’s what I remember from when he was at the college level, so we’re bringing that to the mix. (Donnie) Avery is starting next right now, so that’s how we’ll start. AJ will get his feet (on the ground), and we’ll just see how things work for him from there.”

Intrigued with what Reid was seeing in Jenkins, I did a little bit of tape study on the wideout myself. I checked out some of the film from his games against Penn State and Michigan in 2011:

Granted these are only two games in a near seven minute clip, but here are my takeaways.

Jenkins has speed, good length and he does run smooth routes. What stood out the most though was that everything he ran was an underneath route. This could just be Illinois’ scheme, but it is noticeable none the less. Frankly, I’m not an expert on Illinois football.

Either way, he was running hitches, drags or something quick to the sideline, and he didn’t have the most consistent hands. He put himself in position to make plays with his good route running ability, but he was inconsistent at best when it came to catching the football.

In fact, there were a few times that the ball hit him right in the mitts and he dropped it. Again, two games on a YouTube clip, but it was rather evident that Jenkins was inconsistent from the tape study.

Still, inconsistent or not, he did put up 2,432 yards, 19 touchdowns and 67 receptions in four seasons will Illinois, so that’s proof that he can be productive.

Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t see him being the game-changing deep threat that Dwayne Bowe is for Kansas City, but perhaps he can be more of a complimentary player in the slots or on the other side of No. 82. I would consider him a possession receiver, but he’ll have to work  on the catching part of possession really earn that title.

Potential is the key word for Jenkins right now, because he doesn’t have much of anything else  to show for his one season in the NFL.

Note: Quotes via Chiefs Communications.

Topics: A.J. Jenkins, Andy Reid, Dwayne Bowe, Jon Baldwin, Kansas City Chiefs

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  • Chris Tarrants

    So he didn’t make any real starts in San Fran but he was sitting behind some legit WRS over there. I bet Smith was in the ear of Reid on this deal and if so he might know something that the rest of us don’t. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this kid breakout and leave ol Jimmy in the Bay cratvhing his head and asking WTF

  • ArrowFan

    Who was ahead of him in SanFran? Crabtree and who else. He could play special teams. Then again I would think that Baldwin could have played special teams as well. Lets face it as soon as JB would have been benched for Avery we would have all been yelling to cut him or trade him anyway. I think Reid and Dorsey have both played this well. It is so nice to have professionals that don’t need to sling mud every where. Haley would not have said it the way Reid did, and Pioli just would have never traded or cut him.

    • RepOurChiefs

      Class act

    • steve james

      Absolutely right. Pioli and his pride would have waited until no other team would even take the chance on him and he would end up cut with nothing to show for it. I do wonder if Haley could have smacked him into his potential though. I do think he had some above average ability with WR’s.

  • Jim Harper

    Well the boy has a clean slate here. I think most of us were pretty fed up with Baldwin. He was given every opportunity.

    • RepOurChiefs

      You said it! Never was a Chief to begin with. Dont miss what you never had. Good ridd*

    • PunjabiPete

      I dunno if he was given every opportunity here, I am going to reserve judgment on that one… even though I was a Cassel supporter our QB play was underwhelming… The more I read the less incensed I am at the trade but it might be a tough pill to swallow if JB goes on to put up decent numbers in SF and helps contribute toward a SB… meh.

  • Pealvin

    Go Chiefs!! I’m behind my guys!

  • berttheclock

    A little credit should be given to the new CB for the Chiefs, Smith, who was on him like a glove.
    Now, perhaps, sign another former Illinois receiver. Brandon Lloyd had 155 catches for 2,527 yards and 9 TDs. BTW, Alex Smith and Lloyd did play together in 2005 in SF, although, most of Lloyds TDs came from the early games in the season when Tim Rattay was the QB.

  • Justin R Groth

    Kinda sounds like Ried is wanting him to start some time.

  • berttheclock

    Meanwhile, in San Fran, Baldwin is saying he wants Boldin to be his new mentor. He said Breaston used to rave about Boldin to him. I had to laugh at a comment from a Niners’ fan who said Baldwin could at least get physical against opponents, which he thought Jenkins never had. Except in the locker room, when was Baldwin ever physical?
    BTW, Breaston failed to catch on with the Saints and has been cut.

    • PunjabiPete

      And that’s odd… what happened with Breaston? Everything I’ve seen of him he’s been a professional and has done everything asked of him… was there some huge drop in productivity (NOT from being inexplicably benched) that led to him turning to suckage? I’m just wondering…

  • micah stephenson

    Wow. I would have dumped Jenkins off on the Chiefs too.

    • steve james

      I wondered if you would take the negative view. I am worried that — that is what happened also but optimistic that it is more like what Reid said they just didn’t fit the respective systems very well. I know we got rid of a huge bust and got a less experienced first round draft choice in return. He should be hungry as heck like Alex to show up San Fran. I doubt he has the circus catch ability that Baldwin does but if he can get separation and run more disciplined routes I don’t care. I don’t even care if he has a drop once in awhile, if he catches the ball a couple times in a game he will do more than Baldwin ever did! Baldwin was a know quantity to every defense. They did not respect him and he did nothing to open up Bowe because of it. I think at least for a few games opposing DC will have to account for him. At least until he chokes it up a few times.

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