Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan compares Brandon Aiyuk to Isaac Bruce, says Chris Simms

May 1, 2020 at 4:27 PM--

Chris Simms says he was well-aware that San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, a close friend of his, was high on former Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. The Niners ended up drafting the wideout at No. 25 overall last week and traded up in the first round to do so.

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have even said that, had the dominos fallen differently, and had defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw been off the board, the 49ers would have been willing to select Aiyuk at No. 13. They would have done so even knowing that the move would have been heavily criticized as a massive reach.

It just shows how high the 49ers' brain trust was on Aiyuk.

None of this is news to Simms, though, who had conversations with Shanahan about the receiver and made sure not to tip his friend's hand. The NBC Sports analyst notes that when it comes to evaluating receivers, Shanahan knows what he's talking about and what he wants.

"When Kyle Shanahan told me, 'Man, I think this guy is Isaac Bruce,'" Simms said on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, "and we had a conversation of, 'Would people think I'm crazy if I took Brandon Aiyuk at 13?' I said, 'Some might. But because of your track record, and if you say a statement like, "I think he could be Isaac Bruce," that will shut people up in a hurry.'

"I tried to be a good friend and not show any connection or dots there between Aiyuk and the 49ers."

Simms goes on to note that he believes Shanahan became a fan of Aiyuk because of his route running, mechanics, speed, hands, and versatility.

"Shanahan is very into wide receivers who can rip the ball out of the air and not lose any speed when the ball is thrown accurately," Simms continued, "like you saw with Deebo Samuel last year. How many times did you see Deebo Samuel run it over the middle, rip the ball out of the air, and run it like a bat out of hell, right?"

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