No. 5: 49ers will have both the offensive and defensive rookie of the year
No, this isn’t just bias from a 49ers writer. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk and defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw have the talent, coaching, teammates and opportunity to make big bangs early in their careers.
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For Aiyuk, injuries to teammates Deebo Samuel and Richie James mean he has a chance to impress early. Kyle Shanahan has no hesitation throwing rookies into the fray if they show they deserve it, and Aiyuk’s perfect fit into the Shanahan offense should allow him to make plays early.
His ability to do what Samuel does as someone who can play in the backfield, catch screens and run reverses makes Aiyuk a logical complement to Samuel to keep defenses guessing.
Aiyuk’s ability to make plays after the catch will make him a perfect weapon. He has the most upside of any rookie receiver in the draft, given the system he plays in.
As for Kinlaw, he’s in the perfect place to make an impact. With a stacked defensive line around him, Kinlaw is not going to attract the attention most talented rookies would ordinarily get. He can focus on bullying interior linemen with his stacked and stout frame to make plays right away.
Kinlaw is a Week 1-ready player. Having people around him to take the attention away makes it that much better for him.
San Francisco is a team and an environment that allows for rookies to be productive. Aiyuk and Kinlaw have the ability to be the most productive rookies in the NFL.