49ers training camp: 10 players who’ll impress most in 2020

Jalen Hurd #17 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Jalen Hurd #17 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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San Francisco 49ers, Brandon Aiyuk
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk #2 of the Arizona State Sun Devils (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

No. 2: King of the yards after catch, 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk

When the 49ers traded back up in the first round to select wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk from Arizona State with the 25th pick, it was met with confusion and bewilderment from some quarters.

However, it was later revealed by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan that Aiyuk was Shanahan’s favorite wide receiver in the draft.

It is not difficult to see why.

Aiyuk checks every single box of what Shanahan asks of his receivers: toughness over the middle, ability to lineup anywhere, and dynamic playmaking skills when you have the ball in your hands.

Aiyuk checks every single box.

Aiyuk averaged more yards after the catch (YAC) than anyone in college football last season. Aiyuk was also dynamic returning punts and kickoffs, returning 14 punts for 226 yards and one touchdown in his final year at Arizona State, whilst he returned 15 kickoffs for 446 yards.

The Niners already have George Kittle, who averaged the most YAC out of any wide receiver or tight end in the NFL last season, and Deebo Samuel, who set the rookie record for most YAC, and now Aiyuk.

Is this 49ers offense about to gain even more YAC? Will Aiyuk be the King of the YAC?

With San Francisco’s offense missing a deep threat now that veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders has left via free agency, and with Samuel out for training camp, the stage is set for Aiyuk to burst onto the scene with his dynamic and physical route running.

With 33 1/2-inch arms, it will be difficult for Jimmy Garoppolo to overthrow Aiyuk on a deep post, right?