One of the few positions that cannot be called a strength headed into the offseason for the San Francisco 49ers is wide receiver.
The Niners have one terrific weapon in Michael Crabtree, but beyond that everything becomes clouded quickly. Mario Manningham is on the roster, but he and Kyle Williams are both working their way back from torn ACL injuries.
That leaves A.J. Jenkins, last year's first-round draft pick who failed to make a single catch. The big-bodied receiver out of Illinois was a disappointment as a rookie, failing to make any kind of impact on a team that continues to blossom.
"Obviously, I want to contribute a lot more than I have been," Jenkins said. "So I'm going to make that happen and come back bigger, faster, stronger. "
Jenkins needs to become that compliment to Crabtree if the 49ers are to take the next step in their passing game. Tight end Vernon Davis and Crabtree give San Francisco a nice 1-2 punch, but if Jenkins can develop, the 49ers can stretch the field with a pair of high-flying receivers while Davis works the middle of the field.
With the chances good that Moss will be gone, Jenkins' development becomes all the more important. While Moss was never a star with the Niners, he was dependable for a play here and there, adding 434 yards and three scores.
A positive sign for San Francisco is Jenkins understanding exactly what needs to get done. Per the Bee:
"Obviously, they made me a first-round choice for that purpose," Jenkins said. "I'm going to accountable this offseason and make myself the kind of player that they want me to be."
Now it's simply a question of work and talent combining for this youngster by the bay.