A.J. Jenkins has only been a pro for about six weeks, but the first-round pick has learned plenty since joining the 49ers in late April.
Sure, there’s always an adjustment period for NFL rookies, but Jenkins has had some help along the way. Practicing against Pro Bowler Carlos Rogers and other skilled cornerbacks like Tarell Brown, Chris Culliver, Tramaine Brock and Perrish Cox has only elevated Jenkins’ game.
“Great athletes,” Jenkins said of the San Francisco secondary. “As far as from going from college and the NFL, you can see a difference. We have corners that are on you every single route – fast, big, strong. It’s very competitive.”
And though he’s yet to suit up in a game for the 49ers, Jenkins said going against quality opponent each day in practice can only help him in the long run.
“This is one of the top defenses in the league,” Jenkins said.
But his teammates have proved to be more than just stiff opponents. He’s also picked up mental tips from the players, talking to them on sidelines and throughout the day. Rogers has already offered some wisdom to Jenkins, like how to run routes without tipping off the defender.
“Carlos Rogers talks to me all the time,” Jenkins said. “T-Brock talks to me all the time and Cox. I’m trying to learn from them and the receivers to see what I can do to make my game better.”
But the former Illinois star is taking a day-by-day approach to his job and said he doesn’t have much plans other than attending upcoming practices. He’s also jumped headfirst into the playbook as he tries to learn three wide receiver positions in coordinator Greg Roman’s complex offense.
In the meantime, Jenkins will soon be joined by second-round pick LaMichael James, who recently graduated from Oregon and is Bay Area-bound. The two struck up a quick relationship during the rookie minicamp portion of the 49ers offseason program and Jenkins said he’s looking forward to having James around.
“We’re cool; we’re good friends,” Jenkins said.
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