49ers training camp: 4 players who must perform well

San Francisco 49ers during training camp (Photo by Michael ZagarisGetty Images)
San Francisco 49ers during training camp (Photo by Michael ZagarisGetty 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. 3: 49ers Wide Receiver Brandon Aiyuk

Rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk also finds himself on this list, albeit under a completely different context than Dante Pettis.

Aiyuk, the Niners’ second of two first-round picks from this year’s NFL Draft, is going to be given plenty of chances to acclimate himself to life at the pro level after impressing with 1,192 receiving yards and eight touchdowns his senior season at Arizona State. San Francisco didn’t invest a Round 1 pick in him just to let him fail early.

But where Aiyuk and Pettis share a similar story this training camp is in the wake of Deebo Samuel’s injury.

Samuel was pegged to be the 49ers’ top wide receiver in 2020. While that could still happen at some point this season, Samuel’s pending absence early is going to mandate the need to get some top-end production from someone else on the depth chart.

Aiyuk is a likely candidate to assume a featured role.

Yet Kyle Shanahan’s offense is awfully complex, and it’ll be a steep learning curve for the rookie to make those necessary adjustments in order to assume a role he likely wasn’t going to be asked to do right out of the gate.