SF 49ers: 5 best players over the first half of the season

Fred Warner #54 of the SF 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Fred Warner #54 of the SF 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Brandon Aiyuk, SF 49ers
Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers leaps over Marcus Epps #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

No. 3: SF 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

One of the major standouts from the 2020 season so far has been the early success that rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has had during the first half of his first NFL season.

The former Arizona State Sun Devil has missed two games, including the Thursday Night Football clash against Green Bay due to being placed on the COVID-19 list last week, but still leads the wideout group in receptions (28), yards (371), and touchdowns (two), while adding four rushing attempts for 69 more yards and two additional touchdowns.

The injury bug has impacted Aiyuk differently than the rest of the team. He hasn’t been hampered by his own ailments, but having guys like George Kittle, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and running back Raheem Mostert out has put more of a spotlight on Aiyuk.

To his credit, the rookie hasn’t shied away from the pressure and has often been exceptional when called upon throughout the season. But it would have been nice to see Aiyuk as yet another option for the SF 49ers offense rather than being one of its only threats as he was during the Week 8 game in Seattle.

Aiyuk has shown enough during his first seven games as a pro to suggest that he can be a key cog in this version of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

Getting those other pieces should only help make him an even greater threat to opposing defenses through the rest of 2020 and in seasons to come.