The 49ers headed into the first round of the draft with the 13th and 31st picks. After multiple trades, they ended up with the 14th and 25th picks. And they say the player they got at No. 25 was one they strongly considered at pick No. 13. That player was Brandon Aiyuk, and GM John Lynch said that he and HC Kyle Shanahan would have still been quite satisfied if they claimed Aiyuk 13th-overall. According to ESPN.com's Ken Bowen, the run-after-the-catch traits are there, and so is the easy fit in Shanahan's offense. Aiyuk -- who averaged 10.32 yards after the catch in 2019 at Arizona State -- is explosive in the open field, with that sudden burst to separate on in-breakers. Remember, this is a heavy play-action system under Shanahan. Think of scripted concepts that create open windows for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who threw for 2,704 yards on passes inside the numbers in 2019 (No. 4 in the NFL). And that's exactly where Aiyuk can feast on slants, skinny posts and crossers. Plus, he will see some touches on jet sweeps, screens and reverses, too. Remember, Aiyuk earned the second-most receiving yards after contact last season (378) among FBS receivers, per PFF.
His upside is tempered by the presence of other young receivers, who also will realize increased opportunities. In addition, Shanahan's leaning as a play caller in San Francisco has been run-heavy over the past two seasons. Beyond that, ESPN's Mike Clay notes that Shanahan's WRs haven't ranked higher than 14th in aDOT since 2011 and were near the bottom of the league each of the past two seasons.
2020 Bottom Line
With Deebo Samuel likely to miss the early part of the season coming off foot surgery performed in June, it's fair to assume Aiyuk will have a greater opportunity to contribute and it's hard to say he doesn't have the talent to cash in if things go his way.