San Francisco 49ers: 4 possible first-time All-Pros in 2021
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers have had a first-team All-Pro in each of the last two seasons, yet these four players could wind up earning the accolade for the first time in 2021.
San Francisco 49ers fans spoke “All-Pro Fred” into existence in 2020 when they watched linebacker Fred Warner go from an up-and-coming favorite into one of the league’s best, earning his first-ever first-team All-Pro nod last season.
A year before, and to no one’s surprise, tight end George Kittle received his first first-team All-Pro accolade, too.
While Pro Bowl nods are exceptional accolades, particularly in 2020 when there wasn’t an actual game and therefore no long list of alternates selected, being a first-team All-Pro makes a player the elite of elites.
To quote Viper from Top Gun, “the best of the best.”
Fortunately, the Niners have a few candidates who could potentially land their first All-Pro nods this season, possibly even as first-teamers, which would go a long way towards ensuring the roster is in great shape for the foreseeable future.
Here are four who could be named as such this upcoming season.
49ers All-Pro Candidate No. 4: WR Brandon Aiyuk
A first-team All-Pro selection for second-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk could be a bit of a stretch, particularly with other top candidates like the Buffalo Bills’ Stefon Diggs, Arizona Cardinals’ DeAndre Hopkins or Minnesota Vikings’ Justin Jefferson strongly in the mix.
But it still wouldn’t be shocking at all to see Aiyuk in the running for a first-team All-Pro nomination this season.
It’s not hard to find predictions pegging Aiyuk as one of the NFL’s breakout stars in 2021, namely in the wake of his rookie season where he managed 60 receptions for 748 yards along with seven all-purpose touchdowns over the course of just 12 games played.
And with a banged-up pass-catching corps and three different quarterbacks trying to get him the ball last season.
Aiyuk enters 2021 with a full year immersed in the offense and hopefully some consistency under center, while players like Kittle and fellow wideout Deebo Samuel can help take pressure off Aiyuk to see more favorable matchups.
There are a lot of wide receivers around the league who could earn a spot, too, but Aiyuk stands a great chance to wind up being a frontrunner.