No. 3: Quick Maturation of 49ers Wide Receiver Brandon Aiyuk
One of the most important thing for a rookie to do is show up on practice reports, notably for all the right reasons.
That’s what Brandon Aiyuk is doing. And then some.
A year removed from a breakout season at Arizona State, it was safe to wonder if San Francisco’s first-round NFL Draft pick would be able to acclimate quickly, especially in the wake of injuries to more established wide receivers, Deebo Samuel and Richie James. Kyle Shanahan’s offense puts more pressure on wide receivers than anything else, so to see Aiyuk flash his route-running skills and be a regular target for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is a good thing.
Going from a relatively simple passing scheme to one as complex as Shanahan’s was always going to be a challenge for Aiyuk. So far, the initial results show he’s mastering everything more than just within expectations.
“Brandon Aiyuk has been spectacular,” general manager John Lynch said on “The TK Show”(h/t NBC Sports Bay Area). “His level of, like — gosh, the nuance to his game, the route-running ability. The skill set that we saw on film, sometimes, it translates right away, sometimes it takes some time. Brandon has been really good early, and that gives him a chance.”
Granted, Aiyuk suffered an apparent hamstring injury in camp, and that’s going to be something to monitor.
But if he’s able to return healthy enough, it won’t be shocking to see the rookie provide some excellent contributions right out of the gate.