The NFC West was considered one of, if not the best division in all of the National Football League before the 2013 draft and they took significant steps forward once the draft started as well. In this series we’ll look at some winners and losers throughout the division from the 2013 NFL Draft.
San Francisco upgraded their wide receiving corps in the NFL Draft by selecting Quinton Patton of Louisiana Tech in the 4th round. Had Patton not been available the Niners may have stayed away from the position at that spot in the draft, but he was, much to the presumable chagrin of 2nd-year receiver A.J. Jenkins.
After being selected in the first round (30th) of the 2012 NFL Draft by San Francisco, Jenkins failed to contribute at all during the season, playing in three games on not making a single catch after pre-season. But he figured to become much more active this year as the 4th or 5th receiver mixed in with Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Mario Manningham and Marlon Moore. Boldin and Moore came over via trade and free agency, respectively.
Patton offers the Niners a bigger option and a better route runner, so it’s another hurdle that Jenkins has to hop for playing time if he wants it. If Jenkins’ becomes obsolete in the offense again this season, it might be trade-time for Jenkins to release some cap space on a loaded and highly over-paid roster. That’s if he makes the roster in the first place, which I think he has to.
Then again, this could be the motivation that Jenkins needs to really step up his game. At this moment though, he’s in a precarious position, probably banging his head against a pillow at night.
Veteran Craig Dahl is in a little bit different boat for the 49ers, but the same principle applies. Dahl was brought on board from St. Louis after Dashon Goldston packed his bags in free agency to head to Tampa. Originally he was said to be in the competition for the starting replacement job alongside Donte Whitner. But then San Francisco changed the game this past weekend by moving up 8 spots to draft Eric Reid of LSU in the 1st round.
Reid will be the starter on opening day and Dahl, if he makes the roster, will be more of a watch-from-the-sidelines type of guy. He could end up a winner by default at the end of the season though, if he does indeed make the roster and San Francisco holds up the Lombardi Trophy for their 6th championship in 2014.