San Francisco 49ers Offense Will Be Strong in 2012, Regardless of Rookies
In the 2012 NFL draft, the 49ers selected a wide receiver—just like most of the nation assumed. Usually, when a team selects a wide receiver in the first round, it expects him to contribute right away, but the situation in San Francisco is a little different for A.J. Jenkins.
Right now, the rookie wideout has a strong supporting cast that he has already taken advantage of by learning from polished veterans. His ears are perhaps a bigger weapon than his hands; he is absorbing all the nuances—big and small—of being a professional.
Jenkins is a first-round talent that will likely be used situationally and, like Aldon Smith, will be put in a position to have success early and build confidence.
Jenkins has all of the physical tools to get it done, and his approach thus far has revealed that he has the proper mindset to complement them. His collective attributes led to a high level of success on the field in college, and it's a formula that has worked for many in the NFL. He is fast and athletic, humble and focused, and seems to have the will to try to be great.
The 49ers offense is built of individuals who are used to carrying the offense and have all, at one point or another, been the centerpiece to an offensive attack. 49ers players like Randy Moss, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, LaMichael James and A.J. Jenkins all contributing together will make for a very potent offensive attack.
Individually, these players have done great things in the past, and together, they will do great things in the future.
Moss is a surefire Hall of Famer who has proved to be unstoppable when he wants to be. On every team he has played for, opposing defenses made Moss priority No. 1—even when he played with Cris Carter.
He is a trendsetter as far as hybrid tight ends go.
Davis set the record for most touchdowns by a tight end (13) in 2009 with a shaky offense that didn't quite have a handle on things. From a physical standpoint, he is the combination of a linebacker and a wide receiver with the capacity to take over a game from the tight end position.
San Francisco's tailback is a multi-selection Pro Bowler and the all-time leading rusher for the 49ers.
In seven NFL seasons, Gore has broken 1,000 yards on the ground five times—the two times he didn't, Gore played incomplete seasons with limited carries. Since his inception into the league, Gore has been one of the league's best running backs.
In his final year at Oregon, James ran for a school-record 1,805 yards and became the school's all-time leading rusher.
In his time as a collegiate, James posted 5,082 career rushing yards, which made him second in Pac-12 history and 14th in NCAA history. James was consistently one of the leaders in rushing for most of his college career.
The Illinois wide receiver's senior numbers (1,166 yards) were good enough for second in the Big Ten and 11th best in the NCAA Division I FBS players.
Jenkins was the focal point of the Fighting Illini offense and still produced despite the attention he was getting from defenses.
The Bottom Line
Jenkins will not be the sole focus for opposing defenses by a long shot—and neither will James.
Similarly, with names like Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and Carlos Rogers, last year's first-rounder, Aldon Smith, wasn't the sole focus on defense. Jim Harbaugh and company will likely try to implement the same surroundings on offense for Jenkins in year one.
The 49ers rookies will get some real opportunistic reps on game day in 2012, even though they are newbies at loaded position groups.
This team distributes the ball well on offense, creatively allowing a number of playmakers to get their hands on the ball. The time to shine for the offensive rookies will come, and when it does, the youngsters will take full advantage.
The 49ers coaching staff strategizes accordingly, to put their players in the best-case scenario to succeed—it's all a part of their collective team effort. Any concerns about Jenkins already are just silly because, as it stands, San Francisco has more than enough weapons to bring home a sixth Lombardi Trophy.
And it hasn't bothered the rookie whatsoever, as I pointed out in a previous article.
The additions of A.J. Jenkins and LaMichael James were about depth and building toward the future.
Whether or not they are ready to be No. 1 options by Week 1 is irrelevant because they won't be asked to.
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