Former first-round pick A.J. Jenkins is hoping to catch on with the Jets and is taking part in that team's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, a league source confirmed Friday.
Jenkins was the 30th overall pick in the draft in 2012 but had no catches for the 49ers as a rookie. The next year, the team traded him to Kansas City for receiver Jon Baldwin, who had been a first-round pick the year prior. The Chiefs cut Jenkins in February and now both he and Baldwin are out of the league.
“A.J. was an awfully talented young man," general manager Trent Baalke said in March. "Why it didn’t work? There are always reasons why things don’t work. But it wasn’t due to anybody not giving it their all. I think A.J. gave it his all. I think the coaches gave it their all. It just didn’t work, and you move on to the next.”
The 49ers have taken a receiver in each of the three drafts since Jenkins' selection, but they have waited until the fourth round in each case. This year, the team selected big-bodied DeAndre Smelter from Georgia Tech whom Pro Football Focus rated as one of the better value picks of the draft. Smelter's 4.36 yards per route run were the best in the nation in 2014, Pro Football Focus noted.
Smelter tore his ACL in November and his status for this season is undetermined.
"It's a situation where he may not be ready for training camp, but he may be ready at some point in the immediate future after that," Baalke said last week. "We've just got to get our hands on him, see exactly where he's at. But feel confident that the rehab is going very well up to this point. We'll see what we're dealing with when we get our hands on him.”
The 49ers will hold a rookie minicamp May 16-18.
As for the Jenkins and his potential fit with the Jets, New York finished last in the league in receiving yards last season (the 49ers were 31st; the Chiefs 30th). But they acquired a high-profile receiver in Brandon Marshall this offseason and drafted one in the second round, Ohio State's Devin Smith.