One thing that’s being overlooked in light of our recent loss is the emergence of Jalen Tolbert. He had a rough rookie year, but it turns out he’s looking like a legitimate player in this league. I was really impressed by his offseason conditioning. The guy just looked sculpted and ripped, and he obviously put in the work to accomplish that, which is what I want from all of our rookies.
I see Jalen Brooks on the sideline and I can’t help but wonder if he can help this team. With how lanky he is and how crisp his routes are, I would like to see him working the slot. I have a feeling that when he finally gets his chance, he won’t be inactive again after that.
There’s always the chance of injuries. Having your backup skilled positions ready can be crucial to long-term playoff success. When I look at the San Fransisco defense and schemes they run, I get the hunch that Jalen Brooks could really do some damage to their coverages, especially from the slot. It’s not his speed that I like. I like his size and ability to run precise routes. He’s what some would call "sneaky" good, and has really good hands.
That brings me to the last Jalen. Jalen Moreno-Cropper. To me, this guy reminds me of the Juanyeh Thomas of our WR group. He’s very savvy, like a Jack of All Trades sort of player. Has the speed, a little undersized, but his route running, experience and versatility also makes him a viable weapon for us in the future. I realize he’ll likely remain on the PS for most of the year. But if you wanted to get a look at the kind of player he can possibly be, this week would be the time to do it.
I don’t expect him to jump ahead of Jalen the draft pick. But I’m also not there and haven’t seen how he has progressed or digressed at practice. I do know in college he was very productive. I thought rookie Josh Downs was better than Cropper, but not by much. And Cropper has a little bit of Stephon Diggs to his game. My biggest hope is nobody picks him up and we eventually get to see him on the field wearing the star, especially since Cropper is a Cowboys fan who comes from a family of 49eres fans.
In conclusion, I know we can’t get them all on the field at once. But I would at least like to see more of Tolbert against the Giants. You need to prepare our guys lower on the roster for the future and find a way to get at least one or two of the Jalens more involved against the GIants. That would be one of many goals I would set for the up-coming week against our historic rivalry.