No. 2: How do the 49ers rookies, Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings, develop?
There’s rightfully a lot of attention devoted to rookies, especially those with high pedigrees.
This would be the case for one of San Francisco’s first-round NFL Draft additions this year, former Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who enjoyed a near-1,200-yard receiving campaign with the Sun Devils in 2019 after largely being overshadowed the previous year by now-New England Patriots wideout N’Keal Harry.
Aiyuk, whom the Niners grabbed at No. 25 overall, has a lot of traits Kyle Shanahan likes at the position, including fluid route running and excellent game speed. Separation and explosiveness are there, too.
But until those traits are put together at the pro level, Aiyuk remains in the “promising” category only.
Jauan Jennings, meanwhile, is almost more intriguing as a prospect. His sluggish 4.72 40-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine was a major reason he slipped out of days one or two of the NFL Draft, falling all the way to Round 7. While his lackluster speed isn’t a strength, the fact he broke 30 would-be tackles on 59 catches for the Volunteers last year indicates his play strength and ability to create yards after the catch.
These attributes could be what make Jennings stand out in training camp and the preseason, perhaps pushing one of a number of many other wide receivers off the 49ers’ 53-man roster this season.