The San Francisco 49ers drafted their second receiver in the NFL Draft during the seventh round. It’s generally difficult for any player drafted that late to make the team, especially one with the depth the Niners have at wide receiver. Jauan Jennings brings a different mentality than most of the receivers on the roster and head coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned that. Here is Shanahan on Jennings’ fit with the 49ers:
Jennings was a guy that we knew he’d be right there at the end. He didn’t have the best combine grade outs. When you do that, sometimes you’re always guessing, is it going to be anywhere from the fifth round to a free agent? When you watch this tape, you know a lot of people in this league are going to love him. He was one of our most favorite guys to watch. He’s a bulldog. He usually plays in the slot. I feel like he could probably play linebacker if he wants. He’s willing to fight everybody out there. He fights for yards. He makes plays, and there’s a mindset to that guy that you don’t have to talk to him to hear about. You can watch it on the silent tape, and you know what type of football player he is. When you have guys like that, they usually end up being pretty special. Now, he has some reasons why we got him here and where we did. That’s why he’s going to have to come in and prove himself to make this team because we’ve got a good group of receivers. With the way he plays, the attitude he plays without there with the physicality, he’s going to get himself a chance to make this team. I know he’s going to push these other guys pretty hard.
Lynch added, “He’d play safety if he didn’t play receiver. I love his attitude. I love his style. I think he’s going to help us a lot.”
I watched Jennings go for over 100 yards against Georgia. Here is a good idea of what he brings to the 49ers:
Jauan Jennings had seven catches for 114 yards, a tuddy, and broke a handful of tackles against Georgia pic.twitter.com/cIGWDGY2Ab— KP (@KP_Show) April 26, 2020
Lynch also provided an update on Jalen Hurd’s status:
As for Jalen Hurd, he’s doing really well. One of the benefits is that the rehab players have been able to be around the facility. They’ve been granted permission by the League. We take great precaution with all those things, but Jalen is doing really well. He is cleared. We’re ramping him up. We are very optimistic. I don’t want to be overly optimistic because last year we saw some progress and then we had some setbacks. So, I’ll let that thing continue to take its place. He’s out; he’s running. He’s doing really well, and we’re excited by that. Jalen’s 14 days that we’ve seen him were lights out. The problem is we’ve only seen him for 14 days. Jalen knows full well that he needs to work his tail off so that he can get back and be a contributor and try to earn opportunities to be a contributor for our team moving forward. We love his skill set. We love his mindset. Now it’s time to put it all to work.
Lynch’s tone was positive and made it sound like the team is expecting Hurd to contribute in 2020. If Jennings makes the team, and Hurd is healthy, could we see San Francisco trend away from smaller, quicker slot receivers and turn to bigger receivers like Hurd/Jennings that are impossible to bring down with one defender? That’s something to keep an eye on during training camp.