The San Francisco 49ers dealt WR A.J. Jenkins to the Kansas City Chiefs for WR Jon Baldwin, in a move that saw two franchises exchange disappointing first round picks. The 49ers drafted Jenkins in 2012, and after barely seeing the field his rookie season, he was struggling to make an impact in 2013 training camp. The injury to Michael Crabtree opened the door for more opportunities, but this trade, reports from camp, and his performance in two preseason games tells us he was not doing enough to take advantage of the opportunity.
The 49ers get Jon Baldwin from the Chiefs. The Chiefs used a first round pick in 2011 on Baldwin, and likewise have not been overly impressed. In two seasons, Baldwin has 41 catches for 579 yards and two touchdowns. The upside for the 49ers is that it's at least more than they got from Jenkins, who has yet to make his first official NFL catch.
I spoke briefly with Joel Thorman from Arrowhead Pride, and this is what he gave me on Baldwin:
Baldwin is a big, physically imposing receiver who has the ideal body for a wide receiver. For whatever reason, he was just never able to put it together in Kansas City. You can blame the quarterbacks but Dwayne Bowe was able to succeed with those same quarterbacks. Baldwin struggled with getting off the line in press coverage and never seemed comfortable in Kansas City. He drops easy passes while makes incredibly athletic receptions, and that's just it: He's inconsistent. If the light bulb can go on, Baldwin's physical presence could leave 49ers fans hopeful. But in two years in Kansas City, we never saw that.
Additionally, Tre9er has been tweeting out some videos of Baldwin worth checking out (Video 1, Video 2). It doesn't tell us a lot, but it's a start on learning more about the 49ers newest wide receiver.
The 6'4 Baldwin joins Kassim Osgood as one of the two biggest receivers on the roster. I imagine we'll see him rolled out fairly quickly this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings. It's hard to get a handle on consistency with only two preseason games, but hopefully some kind of light bulb can in fact turn on.
Baldwin is only in his third year removed from college football, so college scouting reports still might hold a little bit of value. Here are a few scouting reports from his run through the draft:
Gang Green Nation