Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Will San Francisco 49ers receiver A.J. Jenkins get his first reception of his NFL career against the Patriots on Sunday?
Start the timer and ready your pitchforks. San Francisco 49ers wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, the team's first round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has played some snaps in the NFL and has not caught a pass. The man has caught zero percent of passes thrown. He has failed to produce in every situation that he's been given an opportunity. He was active against the Miami Dolphins and he failed to catch a pass.
What a bust.
Or not, though ... considering the fact that he was only in on three plays last week. Three times Jenkins lined up in the slot on three-wide sets, and three times the ball wasn't thrown his way. Jim Harbaugh is adamant that Jenkins was wipe open on one play, but quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not target him.
So what about on Sunday against the New England Patriots? I'd honestly judge the likelihood of Jenkins getting some targets to be pretty high. He won't get as many touches as running back LaMichael James will, but I think the best thing to do against a team that's coached by Bill Belichick is to hit them with something they've never seen.
No, that doesn't mean the 49ers should try another horrible option pitch play or ramp the gimmick levels up to 11. It simply means that the potential absence of Mario Manningham could and probably should lead to Jenkins' first targets in the NFL.
As far as expectations go, there's not many. I expect Jenkins to do a lot of things that Michael Crabtree does well, but to be a bit quicker in doing them, while not being quite as polished. When he was drafted, these expectations were very clear.
If Jenkins doesn't have a catch on Sunday, you'll see a bunch of articles about him not living up to his draft status. Just be sure to ignore them OK? Then again, he's probably gonna get at least one catch. My guess: two catches, 13 yards. Baller.