First-round picks Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk are getting all the attention, but the 49ers might have found a late-round steal in Jauan Jennings.
The 49ers drafted the big Tennessee wide receiver in the seventh round, adding another YAC weapon for head coach Kyle Shanahan. Former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan is intrigued by what Jennings could be for the 49ers.
"You know what? Interesting guy. Interesting guy,” McCloughan told The Athletic. “I think there’s some talent there, I really do. I think they might have gotten a steal on that one. Now, we’ll see. Again, I don’t know the person. I don’t know if he’s wired right. Is he gonna do the little things, is he gonna take care of his body, is he gonna take care of his business off the field? But there’s size and talent there."
Jennings was seen as a third- or fourth-round pick heading into the NFL Scouting Combine, but he tested poorly. He ran a 4.72 40-yard dash and recorded just a 29-inch vertical. Jennings' college coach Jeremy Pruitt doesn't think teams should be concerned about the slow 40 time. McCloughan believes the lack of quickness will hamper Jennings' ability to be a big slot receiver and place him more on the outside.
"I see him more as a Z (receiver), working-the-middle-of-the-field type guy," McCloughan told The Athletic. "I don’t see him being a slot guy. I don’t see him being quick enough. I see him being a big-body, strong-hands guy. He’ll always be in traffic but he’ll have success because of his strength and size and toughness. Now, he’s got to mentally be that guy, too, and like I said, I don’t know him. I don’t know if he is that. But if he is, I think it’s a good pick."
With Aiyuk, Jennings, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, Shanahan now has four weapons who excel at breaking tackles after the catch. Jennings forced more missed tackles than anyone last season. He's got a big frame, strong hands, is great after the catch and a willing blocker.
While his lack of speed and quickness lowers his ceiling, Jennings has the necessary skills to stick in the NFL and be a productive complementary receiver.
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