Jenkins, Lockette will compete for receiver roles
Share This Post

SANTA CLARA -- Wide receivers A.J. Jenkins and Ricardo Lockette have never caught a pass for the 49ers. And they find themselves in virtually the same position this offseason.

Each is competing for a role in the 49ers' offense.

Jenkins was the 49ers' first-round draft pick last season. Lockette was signed to the practice squad early in the season. Both players worked out with quarterback Colin Kaepernick at CES Performance in Atlanta after the season.

Lockette (6-foot-2, 211 pounds) actually looks the part of the first-round draft pick, especially considering his speed. Lockette, who turns 27 next month, was an NCAA Division II champion in the 200 meters while at Fort Valley State. And 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh spoke glowingly of Lockette in comments to CSNBayArea.com last month at the NFL owners meetings.

Kaepernick has also been impressed in what's seen from Lockette, who caught two passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in two games with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011.

"He's a great athlete. He's got great speed, a great skill set," Kaepernick said of Lockette. "We want to see what he can do this year.

"He's someone with every workout he's helping me. He's one of the fastest guys on the team. If you try to keep up with him, you're going to get faster."

Jenkins has plenty of speed, too. But he was unable to find a role in the 49ers' offense last season behind Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Kyle Williams and Randy Moss.

Said Kaepernick, "He's been working, the same way everybody has. He's progressing along and getting better."

Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin figure to be the 49ers' starting wide receivers this season. Manningham and Williams are returning from season-ending knee injuries. Manningham is not expected to be ready for the start of training camp. Williams should be available when camp opens in late-July.

[RELATED: 49ers pre-draft depth chart: Offense]

Jenkins was handed nothing but a roster spot as a rookie. He will have to win his way onto the football field, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said.

"They got to compete, whether it's A.J. or anybody on this football team," Baalke said. "They have to compete for their role. This is the time they do it. This is the start of the new year, so we're going to find out if he's the third, the fifth, the second (wide receiver). That's up to him. And that's just like it is for every player on this football team."