49ers Camp Battle No. 4: Richard Sherman vs. Jauan Jennings
The Niners’ situation at wide receiver could ultimately mandate Kyle Shanahan inserts one of his two rookies, Brandon Aiyuk and/or Jauan Jennings into featured roles right out of the gate. And there won’t be any better way to test both first-year receivers’ mettle than to match them up in some one-on-one and full-team first-team reps.
Jennings, in particular, is a player to watch here. His sluggish 40-yard time at the NFL Combine prevented him from being a day-two NFL Draft pick, yet the fact he broke 30 tackles on 59 catches last year at the University of Tennessee suggests another key attribute worth watching: strength.
San Francisco’s strongest and most physical cornerback is Richard Sherman, without question. Like Jennings, Sherman isn’t known for his straight-line speed, rather the ability to use a combination of physicality and football IQ to frustrate receivers right from the snap and through the opening moves of their routes.
Putting Jennings up against Sherman right away should be the ultimate test for the rookie, and it’ll reveal a lot about how the 49ers’ seventh-round draft choice will be able to acclimate to life at the pro level.