True, Jenkins was buried on Jim Harbaugh's wide receiver depth chart in San Francisco, and Jenkins never managed a single catch during his deeply disappointing rookie season.
But Smith saw Jenkins as a hard worker who never got his chance. That could change after the Chiefs traded for the wide receiver Monday.
"I thought A.J. did a great job when he came in," Smith said Tuesday, according to quotes distributed by the team. "He was a great kid, came in hungry. It was a different situation there last year when he came in.
"That's a veteran team with a lot of pieces in place. So it wasn't his job from the jump. He came in and had to battle for it. I could say, I think it was a deeper roster there. For whatever reason, it didn't work out. He's got a ton of talent, a lot of speed, so I think the change is doing some good."
The 49ers' fast decision to cut the cord counts as a significant red flag, but Jenkins deserves a real opportunity to prove he's not a bust. We're not so sure he got that in San Francisco.