Predicting which 49ers win team awards for 2021

San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

With two of the most exciting wide receivers on the 49ers roster, Offensive Player of the Year is a coin flip.

The 49ers have an abundance of talent on the offense and their nominee for Offensive Player of the Year can come from almost anywhere. However, where they have the most upside is at the receiver position with Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk.

Which one separates themselves from the other will be an interesting thing to watch.

After an injury-plagued 2020 season, Samuel will assert himself back into the conversation of one of the best receivers in the NFC West. After an outstanding 2019 season where he zig-zagged through secondary, sped past the outstretched arms of defensive linemen and made highlight reeling catches, Samuel is poised to regain his form once again.

It hasn’t been highly talked about but with the newly rebuilt offensive line, Samuel could benefit the most. Kyle Shanahan loves sending Samuel on jet sweeps and finding ways to utilize his talent. With offensive linemen Alex Mack and Trent Williams setting up a wall for the backfield, Samuel could find himself running away in 2021.

In seven games last year, Samuel averaged more receiving yards per game with 55.9, which is an increase of nearly 3 yards. On the running side, he averaged more rushes per game than he did in 2019.

Samuel knows he’ll need to step up to help his backfield. With the running backs as injury-prone as they are, Jimmy Garoppolo’s health and team status on the cuffs, and Trey Lance being a rookie, it’ll take the third-year pro’s leadership to help San Francisco succeed.

With so much offensive talent around the league, don’t expect to see Samuel accepting the league OPY award. But expect to see him on lots of highlight packages throughout the season.