I have taken a lot of criticism since the 49ers took wide receiver A.J. Jenkins with their first pick in the draft, since I went out of my way to slam that pick — a position I still maintain. Some of the criticism challenged my expertise. Fair enough. I challenged the expertise of Trent Baalke and Jim Harbaugh in this one case, and I opened myself to the same kind of criticism. I welcome the criticism and the debate.

Others said I’m a bum (my word) because I criticized the Jenkins pick and I also criticized the first-round selection of Aldon Smith last year. I didn’t remember what I wrote about Smith, so I looked it up and it turns out I wildly praised Baalke and Harbaugh for drafting Smith with their first pick in 2011. That is a fact.

So, if you criticize me, please be factual. I try to be. Also, just because the Aldon-Smith selection was good it does not follow that the Jenkins selection is good. It’s simply not logical. To read my column on Smith from one year ago, please click here. Peace.

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  1. Johnny Christo

    I challenged you. I implied that you breached your professional duty by failing to do one iota of research on AJ Jenkins before slamming him. If you actually did do one iota of research on AJ Jenkins before slamming him, then I wonder why you didn’t include any of it in your piece. If you disagree that you slammed AJ Jenkins, that, rather, you slammed the front office, then you still had a professional duty to support that dictum with some research. I posit that you breached your professional duty as a journalist to at least look into AJ Jenkins.

    You want me to dig up facts on your negligence? I cannot. But circumstantial evidence, that your dining table-mate responded with similar speed & venom and with a similar dearth of manifest research, would support such a finding.

    You’re it. Clock is ticking. 18.5 hours have now passed since the 30th selection. Surely you can oblige us all by doing your duty, no?

    April 27th, 2012 1:16 pm

  2. Brady

    the true gem of your linking to Aldon is the critical responses from your readers, saying it was a horrible pick!

    I agree that fans should be more factual when they criticize you. My point (and Maicco’s) still remains, though. Journalists and even analysts have no reason to bash draft picks. We’ve seen 0.000001% of the film that these guys have. You may have liked Aldon Smith when he came out, but the other analysts bashed that pick a heckuva lot more than they’re bashing this one.

    The problem with your bashing this pick is that it makes no point. We don’t know what Jenkins will be like. We simply don’t. Furthermore, we don’t know what Fleener will be like. So your bashing the Niners for something that we literally know nothing about just sounds whiny, and like you’re trying to stir up the pot.

    It’s like bashing your future mother-in law before you’ve met your life partner. What in the world is the point??

    I guess that’s my main problem. As a humanities major/aspiring author, it’s been pounded into my head that everything I write should have a message, and a reason for coming into existence. I fail to see either of those things with your column.

    April 27th, 2012 1:34 pm

  3. Brady

    furthermore, Lowell, if you’re going to bring up that you were “right” about Aldon Smith, it’s only fair to mention where you weren’t so right. Look at the year before, where you said the following:

    “In round two Taylor Mays is a good safety . . . In round 3 they got troubled linebacker Navorro Bowman, lots of off-field problems and not the edge rusher they need and didn’t get. I don’t understand this pick.”

    The lesson, as always: don’t try to grade the draft until it is in hindsight.

    April 27th, 2012 1:47 pm

  4. Dave T


    I am glad you took the time to dig a little an point out your support of last years pick and I am 100% with you in your questioning the 49ers first round pick. I think you were trying to say that the pick does not make sense because he is not that much of “an impact” player to warrant being taken with a first round choice and not that you do not believe that as a player they could have a very productive career. Does that sound correct? Also, as I listened to the draft last night as I did some other things (I for one like the draft but can’t watch it, I simply have it on for background noise) one analyst said “this is a deep receiver class and you can pick up a quality player later in the draft”. To that statement there was agreement across the board. If that is the case, it makes the pick just as much puzzling.

    I also want to address something another commenter made, that is you build next year SB winners through FA and not through the draft. I simply beg to differ. The best teams with consistentcy over the past 15 years (Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indy, New England, Green Bay, NY Giants, and I would include New Orleans) have built their teams through the draft almost exclusively. Have they added parts here and there through FA? Yes, but with the exception of Drew Brees, their impact players have come via the draft and not FA. Those teams that tried to do it via FA (Dallas, Washington, Miami, NY Jets, Philadelphia and Oakland notably) have failed time and time again. My proof? In SB wins in those two groups over the past 15 years it is 12 to 0. And total SB appearances it is 16 to 1 (Pitt, NE (2), Indy with appearances and Philly has but one for the other group)

    I think you were very fair to question this pick. I think he would have been a good pick in the second round, but not the first. I am not sure who was better on the board and at what position for them to take, but I concur, I do not think this player makes them any more of a contender than what they were before the draft.

    April 27th, 2012 1:56 pm

  5. abizness

    you deserve critcism for your analysis of the pick. a measurables guy is a heyward-bey type pick, measurables with little production. when a guy accounts for almost 1300 yds, there is no way you can call that a measurable/al davis style pick. that is just not intelligent or at a min, lazy analysis.

    i think this was one the lowest risk picks they could have made. he looks great catching the deep ball, smooth and fast in and out of his breaks, sudden quicks, can play inside and outside. sure they could have taken a risk elsewhere, but i like the pick.

    April 27th, 2012 2:08 pm

  6. Mike

    I am amazed at how folks who post comments make such negative personal comments. I have read you for years (I hate admit it but we are close to the same age) and while I have disagreed with you on occasion I still enjoy and respect your work. If I didn’t, I would not read your columns and postings. It might be a good suggestion for those who disrespect you, to refrain from reading what you write.

    April 27th, 2012 2:21 pm

  7. JayT

    The difference is, during last year’s draft you weren’t anti-Harbaugh yet, and now you are. I came here just to see how negative your reaction was and you cam through. Drafting a down-field threat WR with speed makes perfect sense.

    April 27th, 2012 2:22 pm

  8. Tiburon Dave

    I was glancing through the 779 responses that Grant got to his thoughts on the Jenkins pick.

    Fans are wound up into a highly emotional state on this team and it’s April!

    Harbaugh’s sophomore season is set up for Super Bowl or Bust…Heaven help him if he doesn’t get there because to quote the great Ray Ratto, “when he falls there won’t be anybody to catch him”

    April 27th, 2012 2:25 pm

  9. CohnZohn

    Brady, It’s nice to know you’re an aspiring writer. I wish you good luck. As an aspiring writer, you’ll no doubt notice my piece on Jenkins had a clear message.

    April 27th, 2012 2:28 pm

  10. CohnZohn

    Johnny Christo, You seem really worked up. I mean really worked up. Why? This is only football, not life and death. Try to have a nice day.

    April 27th, 2012 2:31 pm

  11. CohnZohn

    JayT, How do you know how my feelings about Harbaugh affected how I viewed either draft? You are making assumptions you simply can’t back up. It is so much more sensible to say I feel different about both picks.

    April 27th, 2012 2:33 pm

  12. CohnZohn

    abizness, You like the pick. I don’t like the pick. Have a nice day.

    April 27th, 2012 2:34 pm

  13. Vijay


    I read your columns and honestly didn’t see why there is so much personal and negative comments against you. You gave your opinion and yes this was indeed a strange pick by the Whiners and reminded of a typical Al D pick.

    April 27th, 2012 2:42 pm

  14. Cindy

    Lowell, my biggest problem was calling the pick a “joke” pick. That is a pretty negative thing to say – actually I found it insulting. You may have liked Aldon Smith, but many others thought it was a reach. My point was don’t be so quick to judge, especially since the front office did a really good job last year with their draft picks and maybe do know what they are doing. If Jenkins turns out to be a bust, then go get ‘em.

    April 27th, 2012 3:03 pm

  15. Johnny Christo


    Hmmmm. Not worked up at all. Nothing like when Sing was the Coach and you refused (still refuse) to acknowledge him as the fraud that he was. That was truly irksome!

    I’m not worked up about this at all. I commented on your Jenkins Blog. You owe more to your profession and to your readers than to just spit up some knee-jerk reaction to what is truly a mysterious (confounding) pick. It seems to me a pretty alluring topic to research.

    Maybe I like research more than you. Maybe you’re just too old to bother with new learning. I doubt it though. I think you’re just a hard-set contrarian with a bone to pick with the current Niners Brass. Get over it, dude. Life’s too short to stay so mad at those who dismiss you. You are still a professional journalist, and as such, you owe it to yourself and to us to put a little work into your work.

    Sent similar sentiments to Young Cohn (who, by the way, has still not posted a new blog today – talk about mysterious, confounding, etc…).

    Have a great day, Lowell. You’re still 2nd best, just like Kurt Warner.

    April 27th, 2012 3:04 pm

  16. Brady

    Lowell – thank you for the well wishes and kind words. I misspoke when I said that your column does not have a message. It’s that it does not have a meaningful message – that is to say, I do not believe it to have a message that resonates with sports fans, whether they agree or disagree. Your message was, “Niners made a bad draft pick.” that’s not unique message, just a headline. Your subsequent messages are easily rebutted: Jenkins is an Al Davis pick (simply not true, as stated by others); Niners are poor on 3rd down (WC type slant receivers are just as good as large, hitch receivers in this area); Niners are poor in the red zone (last year they admitted that the playbook was not yet scratched. VD, a BIG body, will surely play a bigger role there this year).

    I understand that you enjoy writing controversial things, but when you get so many responses, and the majority of them are negative, you should be able to see that your message is not resonating.

    April 27th, 2012 3:07 pm

  17. CohnZohn

    Johnny Christo, Check out si.com for an analysis of the Jenkins pick. It’s not gospel but it’s very interesting. Cheers, Lowell, the second best.

    April 27th, 2012 3:10 pm

  18. CohnZohn

    Brady, Just because people disagree with me does not mean I am wrong, especially when the proof is half a year away. Thanks for your thoughtful comments and I sincerely appreciate your politeness, and I do wish you success as a writer. Have a great weekend.

    April 27th, 2012 3:13 pm

  19. Johnny Christo

    SI.Com? Thanks. I will. Why didn’t you before you wrote your piece last night?

    2nd Best is not so bad, when the best is Joe Montana. Hey, I just realized that you, Kurt Warner, & Jim Harbaugh are all 2nd Best!!! It’s nice company you share, Lowell.

    Your next post should read:

    Jim Harbaugh and Lowell Cohn

    April 27th, 2012 3:15 pm

  20. ice-pick

    ‘Someone got their feelings hurt, do da, do da

    Someone got their feelings hurt, all the do da day’

    April 27th, 2012 3:23 pm

  21. Sean

    What is most bothersome to me about the pick is not that is was Jenkins. It’s that Baalke put a name in an envelope and simply sat there and submitted the pick. Why not trade back for a pick or two and take Jenkins in the second when he more than likely would have still been there? Look at all the trades that took place and all the later round picks that were to be had.

    Baalke, and Harbaugh for that matter, need to take a page from the Belichickian School of Draft Wheeling and Dealing where it’s less about personnel and more about value. The Niners had value in the #30 selection and wasted it with a lesser round pick. Jenkins might be a fine NFL receiver, that remains to be seen. But Baalke and Harbaugh were playing checkers yesterday when the rest of the league was playing chess.

    April 27th, 2012 3:36 pm

  22. mbabco

    Sean, what I’m reading is that St Louis was set to take Jenkins with the 33rd pick. Baalke wanted Jenkins. Seems like maybe he knew what he was doing taking him at 30.

    April 27th, 2012 6:04 pm

  23. Stan


    wy are you attackin lowell with so much anger like facts prove your are right or something, i mean yeh maiocco used them facts and lowell looks pretty foolish wich neeeeever happens but just becuase he didnt do or know anything before writing his article. doesnt mean that your right. lowell linked to an article anyway proving he wildly praised baalke for aldon smith and even thouhg his reasons for critisizing the jenkins pick are literally the exact same as his reasons for wildly praising the aldon smith pickk, he is smart and not senile so we should probably just believe him and his very definitely not crazy son iggy.

    April 27th, 2012 7:04 pm

  24. danilo

    All those who expect a SB appearance next season should relax. It won’t happen. The Giants, Packers, Saints, are better teams and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rams challenge the 9ers for the NFC West title because they have a much better quarterback and had an excellent draft. People should stop treating Harbaugh like a messiah:he makes mistakes just like the rest of us and even has to use the bathroom occasionally. They probably could have had Jenkins in the 3ed round. The draft order should have been Fleene, James(a very good pick) and then Jenkins if available.

    April 27th, 2012 8:02 pm

  25. Johnny Christo

    Stan, not attacking Lowell. Not at all. He ribs and gets ribbed, and he’s a class-act. He knows it. He knows I know it. I’ve been reading him since you, Stan, were in your 60s… a LONG LONG time. I like Lowell. But his (and Iggy’s) all-too-quick reactions to the Jenkins pick reeked of amateurism, and Lowell should have known better. Facts would have been a nice component to that post, but it had none, zero, zilch. That’s all, Stan. No biggy.

    April 27th, 2012 9:16 pm

  26. Fansince 77

    In your article about Aldon Smith, Lowell says TB and JH are men of conviction and they know what they want. I think the same goes for their pick of Jenkins and James. They know what they want. A year ago, there was no proof that TB and JH would be successful with their conviction. So why should 2012 be different? Because they didn’t pick Colby Fleener? I may not agree with everything JH does, but I bet he’s smart and he knows way more than any of us. Look at what he did with AS for crying out loud. Sure the man made mistakes, he’s human, but look how far the team has come. A Jenkins and L James, you can’t really say they are bad picks like Rashuan Woods, or Kentwan Balmer. There is never a mistake to draft speed if you have a plan on how to use it, and I think JH has a plan and I can’t wait to see what that is!

    April 28th, 2012 12:17 am

  27. Dave T

    @mbabco – That was exactly the point Sean was making with this and the point I was making as well. If the Rams really wanted that player, you deal them the pick to trade up and get their pick in return and something else. That way the Rams are assured of getting the player they want. They fact that they are in the same division is not nearly as much of an issue because Jenkins in an unknown quantity at the NFL level.

    Look, I have been reading and posting here for quite some time as well. I truly do not believe that Lowell does not like Jenkins as a player or a person. What he believes and thinks is that he did not warrant being a 1st round pick. That is what the “joke” pick is about. Lowell just believes the Niners “overpaid” for what they are getting. Frankly I would agree.

    April 28th, 2012 9:31 am

  28. CohnZohn

    Dave T, Thanks. You expressed my opinion better than I could.

    April 28th, 2012 9:43 am

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