No. 3: Javon Kinlaw, Brandon Aiyuk look like the real deal for SF 49ers
Speaking of young core players to build around, the Niners appear as if they’ll get some excellent long-term contributions from their two first-round NFL Draft picks from this season, Javon Kinlaw and Brandon Aiyuk.
Aiyuk’s prowess has already been felt in a big way, as he has 446 receiving yards on 35 catches with three receiving touchdowns. Those numbers will eventually eclipse George Kittle, who’s on injured reserve, for the team lead.
It’s not often a rookie receiver can claim that. But Aiyuk is looking like an absolute stud and probable WR1 for Kyle Shanahan’s offense in the very near future.
Kinlaw, meanwhile, had big shoes to fill replacing now-Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner at the 3-technique. Statistically, Kinlaw isn’t looking overly impressive. But after registering his first 1.5 sacks at the pro level in Week 10, there are signs the former South Carolina Gamecock will wind up being the pocket-wrecking force along the interior San Francisco needs.
One can only imagine how effective a defensive line comprised of Kinlaw, Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa will be when they’re all on the field together.
Shanahan and John Lynch’s NFL Draft classes haven’t always been great, 2017 and 2018 being underwhelming in a lot of regards.
So far, the 2020 class is appearing to yield excellent results right from the top where they’re needed most.