5 biggest takeaways from 49ers’ 2022 mandatory minicamp

Kevin Atkins #77 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Kevin Atkins #77 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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Jauan Jennings, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings (15) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /

Takeaway No. 2: Jauan Jennings is poised for a breakout season

For most teams, being the third wide receiver on the roster is tantamount to a starting role. In the NFL today, playing three wide receivers is so common that the nickel cornerback on a roster is frequently considered a starter, too, in his own right.

For San Francisco, it’s a little bit trickier, however.

Between the tendency of the team to favor running the ball, the ability of tight end George Kittle and the wide array of plays favoring misdirection and a pass to a designated receiver, the third wide receiver on the 49ers roster tends to not have the same effect on an offense.

But, between the new era headed by quarterback Trey Lance and the emergence of wide receiver and former seventh-round pick Jauan Jennings, that script could be flipped this season.

Jennings certainly popped up as a reliable option in 2021, catching 24 passes for 282 yards and five touchdowns despite only being targeted 38 times during the season. Notable from Week 13 onwards, Jennings caught multiple passes in every game (save the defensive struggle in the playoff victory over the Green Bay Packers) including a career game in the regular-season finale with six receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns in a bout that cemented the Niners’ spot in the playoffs.

Jennings has carried this over to camp and has taken full advantage of fellow wideout Deebo Samuel not yet taking to the practice field, as Lance has looked very comfortable targeting him and Jennings looks very comfortable catching the fastballs that Lance throws at him.

Jennings will be the WR3 when Samuel does return, of course, but look for the former to factor in a lot more on the offense in 2022.