Jauan Jennings was a once-touted recruit who had some big moments at Tennessee but still slipped to the seventh round of the 2020 draft, selected by San Francisco. Here are Jennings’ odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as well as the 49ers’ over/under win total.
Jennings was the No. 217 overall pick by San Francisco in the draft. He played quarterback in high school but was immediately shifted to wideout at Tennessee. As a freshman, Jennings appeared in 11 games with six starts. He had 14 catches for 149 yards along with seven rushes for 15 yards and a 58-yard passing touchdown. That TD pass was to Joshua Dobbs at Florida on first pass attempt of his career. Jennings was the true freshman to start an opener at receiver since Marquez North in 2013.
As a sophomore, Jennings appeared in all 13 games with nine starts during breakout sophomore campaign highlighted by his game-winning 43-yard Hail Mary catch with no time left to lift Tennessee to a comeback win at Georgia. He finished second on the Vols in receptions (40), receiving yards (580) and touchdown catches (seven) and threw a four-yard touchdown against Texas A&M.
In 2017, Jennings started the season opener against Georgia Tech and finished with three catches for 17 yards before injuring his wrist. He missed the rest of the year and took a medical redshirt.
The next year, he started five games and appeared in all 12 contests despite battling nagging injuries. Jennings was second on the Vols in receptions (30) and third in receiving yards (438).
Then last year, Jennings really emerged as one of the SEC’s top wideouts. He led the Vols with 59 receptions for 969 yards and eight touchdown catches, while adding a rushing score. He ranked fifth in the SEC in receiving yards and sixth in yards per game (74.5) while being named the team’s MVP.
Jennings led the nation in broken tackles (30) by a wide receiver. He also 13 times for 51 yards and one touchdown (3.9 ypc). Jennings was one of three receivers to surpass 100 yards at Missouri (11/23) – a program first, making five catches for 115 yards and one touchdown. He also started at quarterback (wildcat formation) and set a new career high with 174 receiving yards while tying career highs with seven catches and two receiving touchdowns in 41-21 win over South Carolina. Jennings’ 174 receiving yards vs. Carolina were the most by a UT player since Cordarrelle Patterson had 219 vs. Troy on Nov. 3, 2012.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder left top-five in school history in receptions (132), receiving yards (2,004), and receiving scores (18). Many expected he’d flash at Indy’s combine but Jennings’ 40-time (4.72) and leaps (29″ vertical) were not great. Jennings’ lack of speed is concerning, and he struggles to find much vertical separation. On top of that, his downfield ball tracking can be awkward at times.
Before his terribly slow 40-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine, Jennings was likely viewed as a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick. Some character concerns and red flags didn’t help matters. The SEC suspended him for half of this past season’s Gator Bowl following an altercation with a Vanderbilt player. Jennings was flagged for a flagrant personal foul following the incident, and the receiver was accused of stepping on that player’s head.
Jennings joins the 49ers ready to battle for a roster spot, known as a receiver in the Deebo Samuel mold. He’s strong and aggressive and excellent gaining yards after the catch, with competitiveness rarely rivaled.
“I look at this offense and I see a receiver like Deebo Samuel — I’ve known him since the SEC days,” Jennings said after being drafted. “He’s a great receiver and he’s always had that dog, that gritty attitude that I’m going to bring as well. [Quarterback] Jimmy Garoppolo, you got him in the backfield throwing the rock. It’s just going to be hard to stop us in my mind. We’ve got a lot of weapons and I just can’t wait to go out there and help.”