49ers: 3 rookies who could be Pro Bowlers by 2021

Running back Salvon Ahmed #26 of the Washington Huskies (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Running back Salvon Ahmed #26 of the Washington Huskies (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State Sun Devils, 49ers
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk #2 of the Arizona State Sun Devils (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

No. 2: 49ers Wide Receiver Brandon Aiyuk

First-round NFL Draft additions are expected to at least make a handful of Pro Bowls over their respective careers, and that’ll be the expectation for Brandon Aiyuk.

Aiyuk was Kyle Shanahan’s hand-picked top receiver in this year’s class, and it’s not hard to see why. Aiyuk can be explosive with the ball in his hands, which ultimately led to the impressive 1,192-yard, eight-touchdown receiving performance he had during his final season at Arizona State.

Now, there’s a possibility Aiyuk struggles early in his pro career. For starters, losing second-year wide receiver Deebo Samuel to a foot injury during the offseason could put a bit too much pressure on Aiyuk to thrive early. Plus, considering the rookie’s relatively simple route tree at Arizona State won’t translate well over to Shanahan’s complex offense easily, it wouldn’t be shocking if Aiyuk’s development takes a bit longer to mature than initially hoped.

That said, the 6-foot-0, 200-pound receiver could end up being a massive beneficiary from Samuel’s presence, as opposing defenses will assuredly lock down on him as the top receiving threat at the position.

Aiyuk could see his stats climb in a big way by year two of his NFL career, pushing him into the Pro Bowl discussion by the conclusion of 2021.