Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan explains why 49ers traded up to get Brandon Aiyuk, was willing to take him at No. 13

Apr 24, 2020 at 9:38 AM--

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is very fond of his new wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk of Arizona State. There were no reports of the team meeting with or interviewing Aiyuk leading to the draft, which makes sense. The 49ers didn't want to tip their hand, especially if he was Shanahan's guy all along.

Just how much does Shanahan like Aiyuk? Not only was he willing to move up from No. 31 to select him at No. 25, but he was also willing to consider using the No. 13 overall pick to add the young receiver.

"Aiyuk was one of the guys we were going to do that for if Kinlaw wasn't there," Shanahan explained on Thursday night. "And then to still be there, sitting there at 31, and a guy that we would have done it if we had to at 13, is sitting there when [our next selection is] 31, available at 25.

"We feel very strongly from our intel over the last few months, there's no way Aiyuk is getting to 31. And so if we could take our fourth-round pick (to trade), which a fourth-round pick on our team is going to be hard to find a fourth-round pick to beat out any of our guys to start.

"So, to risk that to go up and get a starting receiver with a starting three-technique that we already got, it was something we didn't think was going to be there, and we just feel real happy it was."

The 49ers ended up trading picks No. 117 and 176, in addition to No. 31 overall, to the Minnesota Vikings to move up to No. 25 to select Aiyuk. There was another trade one pick later at No. 26. The Green Bay Packers gave up the No. 30 overall pick and No. 134 to the Miami Dolphins to move up to No. 26.

Skeptics will look at what the Dolphins did and realize that the 49ers had to give up a lot more to move one spot ahead of Miami, and eventually Green Bay. The problem with that thinking is that it was the Dolphins that caused Shanahan and general manager John Lynch some concern.

That "intel" surrounding heightened interest in Aiyuk was reportedly about Miami.

So the 49ers executed the trade to move ahead of the Dolphins, who quickly traded out of their slot when their guy became unavailable. It's a trade that would not have happened if San Francisco had not jumped ahead of them.

"He can play the X, he can play the Z, he can play the F," Shanahan said of Aiyuk. "He's got the speed to get on top. He's got the quickness to play in the slot. He's got the toughness to go over in the middle. And the guy is just completely committed, to me, to being as good as God ever intended him to be."

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