5 bold predictions for 49ers 2020 NFL Draft class

Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina Gamecocks (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Javon Kinlaw, South Carolina Gamecocks (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State Sun Devils, 49ers
Brandon Aiyuk #2 of the Arizona State Sun Devils (Photo by Kent Horner/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Brandon Aiyuk Will Match Deebo Samuel’s 2019 Numbers with 49ers

Brandon Aiyuk was one of only two wide receivers Kyle Shanahan prioritized in Round 1 of the NFL Draft, the other being now-Dallas Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb.

The Niners banked on Aiyuk slipping a bit in the draft, yet the team ultimately got aggressive enough to trade up to the No. 25 overall pick to grab him.

Now, Aiyuk has a chance to shine.

Sure, Aiyuk only had one explosive year at Arizona State, 2019, after playing the proverbial “second fiddle” to now-New England Patriots wideout N’Keal Harry the year prior. Still, Aiyuk’s 1,192 receiving yards and eight touchdowns off 65 receptions, paired with his excellent route-running capabilities, should make him a force in Shanahan’s offense right away.

Samuel’s development is still key, and fans may recall how he reached 802 receiving yards his rookie year, largely slanted from an impressive second-half effort.

For Aiyuk, he’ll have the benefit of Jimmy Garoppolo playing in his second full season as a starter, as well as both Samuel and George Kittle cementing their own chemistry as Garoppolo’s top targets.

Aiyuk probably won’t reach the 1,000-yard plateau in year one. But looking at him as an 800-yard receiver isn’t out of the question at all.