49ers trade WR A.J. Jenkins to Chiefs for WR Jon Baldwin

49ers and Chiefs swap first-round draft busts Jenkins and Baldwin

8/19/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

When a highly drafted player struggles to live up to expectations, the best thing to revitalize his career is often times a simple change of scenery. We've seen this method work with players such as Alan Branch (Cardinals to Seahawks), Carlos Rogers (Redskins to 49ers), Cedric Benson (Bears to Bengals), and Marshawn Lynch (Bills to Seahawks).

Jul 28, 2013; St. Joseph, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jon Baldwin (89) runs after a catch during training camp at Missouri Western State University. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY SportsThe San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs both found themselves with what look to be draft bust wide receivers this offseason. 2012 30th overall pick A.J. Jenkins failed to catch a single pass for the 49ers as a rookie last season, while Jon Baldwin has been a persistent source of frustration both on and off the field for the Chiefs' coaching staff since being taken 26th overall in 2011. With both organizations lacking confidence in their recent first-round picks, they decided to try their hands with different disappointing receivers.

On Monday, the 49ers traded Jenkins to the Chiefs for Baldwin in a deal that essentially is an attempt to give the two players a change of scenery in hopes that something will click and they will begin playing closer to their expectations coming out of college.

For now, it looks like the 49ers probably will have gotten the better end of the deal, as Baldwin has shown flashes of sensational playmaking ability - it's keeping his head in the game and making smart decisions that has held him back. With the offseason injury to Michael Crabtree, Baldwin could see decent playing time thanks to a questionable group of wide receivers in San Francisco.

As for the Chiefs, they get a productive college player (first-team All-Big Ten in 2011) with good measurables (4.39 forty-yard dash, 38.5 inch vertical) who has simply not yet found his niche in the NFL. Healthy all of his rookie year, Jenkins appeared in just three games for the 49ers and was targeted once on a pass which he dropped. Through two preseason games, Jenkins continued to be horrible - on his five preseason targets, two were intercepted, and his lone catch resulted in a lost fumble.

Despite his struggles, Jenkins still has a shot to see some significant time for a thin Chiefs receiving core. Another disappointing wide receiver - former 33rd overall pick Donnie Avery - is currently penciled in to start opposite Dwayne Bowe.

Neither of the traded players are really on the fantasy radar, but if you feel like taking an irrational gamble, grabbing Baldwin as a flier in the very late rounds wouldn't be the craziest of ideas.
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