The 49ers need to cut A.J. Jenkins. Or put it another way. If the 49ers are serious about putting the best team on the field Sept. 8 against Green Bay, Jenkins will not be part of the team.

This is nothing against Jenkins, the person. He is polite, a hard worker, a college graduate. He deserves a good life. But he doesn't deserve an NFL career, even though he was Trent Baalke's first pick in the 2012 draft, the 49ers' only first-rounder, simply a horrible pick. More about Baalke in a moment.

Jenkins is the worst wide receiver in 49ers' camp. Undrafted guys are better than he is. Guys you never heard of are better than he is. And he is the worst receiver for the second year in a row.

He caught no passes last season. You already know that. It's hardly what you expect from your marquee draft choice. Last Thursday against the Broncos, he caught a pass — hooray! — then a Broncos defender immediately stripped the ball from him, easy as pie.

On another pass, Jenkins allowed Chad Hall to run in front of him and make the catch. Jenkins looked like a center fielder letting the right fielder call him off a fly ball to center. He looked unsure of himself and, worst of all, he looked timid.

Watch Anquan Boldin. Watch Michael Crabtree when he returns to the team. They hunger for the ball. They move toward the ball like predators. You cannot stop them. Jenkins stops himself. On Sunday, offensive coordinator Greg Roman answered questions about Jenkins in a Q-and-A session with reporters. Look at Roman pussyfoot around the issue of Jenkins. And remember, in all other things 49ers, Roman is Mr. Accentuate the Positive.

<b>Why hasn't WR A.J. Jenkins been able to put it all together?</b>

"A.J.'s working hard. He had a couple plays the other night that he'd like to have back but he had some good plays. We're of the ilk that you come in after a game, you learn from it, you move on and you get better and that's what we're doing."

<b>It seems like just watching practices, he has his good plays but he also has plenty of not good plays. </b>

"I think A.J.'s out there competing hard. I think everybody has those plays. You got to bounce back from them. I think A.J. does a lot of really good things and he's just got to continue to work and get better day by day."

<b>What do you say he does best?</b>


<b>What does he do best?</b>

"I think there's a lot of things he does well, very well. I don't know that I'd pick one. He makes some spectacular catches. He's got big strong hands. Makes good catches. Is getting better with his route running. He's improving really in everything he does. It's just a matter of down-in down-out consistency. We all need to strive to be better day in and day out, play in and play out."

OK, what did we learn from that Q&A?

Jenkins works hard.

To which we say we expect him to work hard. Working hard is the least a player owes a team.

After that, Matt Maiocco asked what Jenkins does best. Roman responded with "Pardon?" It's like the question surprised him or was off color.

Maiocco repeated his question. Roman babbled. He said Jenkins does lots of things well. That was strictly filler to buy time. He said he couldn't pick one thing. That was another time-filler, but eerily close to the truth. Finally, he latched onto a specific. Jenkins makes spectacular catches.

To which we say, not in games he doesn't.

Roman was on a roll, kind of. He said Jenkins has strong hands. Then he said he makes good catches. He already was repeating himself. He said Jenkins runs good routes. Not in games he doesn't. Then he resorted to the usual football clich? — everyone has to get better. Quite an insight, that one.

In other words, he had nothing specific to say about Jenkins. Can't blame him for that. No one would have anything specific to say about Jenkins beyond the most generic statements: He's a football player, he has a pulse, he breathes oxygen.

If Jenkins were a fourth-round pick — that's what he should have been — Baalke would have cut him long ago. But Baalke has not cut Jenkins and may not cut Jenkins. Why?

I believe it's a matter of ego — Baalke's ego. I understand why Baalke's ego is on the line. A first-round pick is serious business and reflects on Baalke's acumen as a general manager. If you whiff on a first-round pick — and Baalke struck out looking — people question your judgment and job performance. Baalke made it worse by proudly announcing he put Jenkins' name in an envelope before the draft and then he got Jenkins. Forget that other teams didn't exactly stampede in Jenkins' direction and didn't use the envelope trick.

If you want to be coldly analytical about Baalke's 2012 draft, it was a stinker. In the second round, he took running back LaMichael James, who is too small. After last week's exhibition game, the 49ers immediately activated Kendall Hunter. They must have been alarmed by what James showed them.

In the fourth round they took guard Joe Looney, currently a third-stringer. In the fifth round they took linebacker Darius Fleming, currently on injured reserve with a torn ACL. In the sixth round they took safety Trenton Robinson who may not make the team. Later in the sixth round they took offensive lineman Jason Slowey, long gone from Santa Clara. In the seventh round they took Cam Johnson, who hardly played last season and probably won't make the team.

The 49ers are an elite team despite that draft. But the GM needed to replenish the squad for the future, and Baalke was no replenisher. That's behind him now. He must move forward. He must not keep Jenkins to justify that pick, to salvage his ego. He must learn from this, cut Jenkins for the good of the team, and move on.

For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at lowell.cohn@pressdemocrat.com.