49ers OTAs: These 5 players aren’t off to a hot start

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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The 49ers wrapped up their third week of organized team activities, and these five players probably want to pick it up after slow starts.

The close-out of Week 2 from the San Francisco 49ers’ 2022 installment of organized team activities was made more noteworthy not because of what was happening on the practice field but rather what was going on off of it.

Veteran center Alex Mack retired, creating a problem for the Niners, while legendary running back Frank Gore signed a one-day contract to retire with San Francisco.

And the 49ers ensured their entire class of 2022 NFL Draft picks were officially under contract, too.

OK, back to the on-field stuff despite the crazy end to the week for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co.

Again, full disclaimer: OTAs are glorified backyard-football practices with no pads, contact or tackling. So whatever practice reports coming out from the handful of open sessions to the media only carry so much weight.

From what we know, though, these five players haven’t exactly wowed despite having two weeks of OTAs now in the books.

No. 5: 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk

It’s hard to call out of the Niners’ better offensive players, although Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn recorded third-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk caught only one pass from the four thrown to him by quarterback Trey Lance.

Without diving into Cohn’s conclusions about Aiyuk, that line isn’t particularly great. Particularly when the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch corroborated the struggles and pointed out how Aiyuk dropped one of those passes from Lance.

Additionally, Branch pointed out another odd moment:

"The oddest sight? An incomplete deep-over-the middle pass from Lance to Aiyuk, who couldn’t take advantage of a mismatch. Aiyuk ran a crossing route while being covered by linebacker Curtis Robinson, but the 2020 first-round pick couldn’t get separation from the second-year undrafted free agent on the roster bubble."

Drops were one of the reasons why former 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis found himself in the doghouse back in 2019. And although Aiyuk is clearly not on that same trajectory, it’s not a great sign to have him underwhelm in this particular session open to the media.