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.