Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Analyst says whatever Kyle Shanahan is planning with Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk ‘should terrify’ the NFC

May 5, 2020 at 5:16 PM--

Respected draft analyst Lance Zierlein joined KNBR on Monday and started to wonder what San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has in store for opposing defenses this year. Specifically, he was focused on the drafting of wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk with the team's second first-round pick.

This tidbit from the radio interview comes courtesy of Jacob Hutchinson of KNBR via 49ers news sleuth Patrick Tulini. Hutchinson's article, which can be found here, is worth the read just for the first paragraph alone, and, of course, finding the Zierlein-based talking points.

During the interview, Zierlein makes a comparison between what Shanahan seems to be doing to what Patriots coach Bill Belichick did in past years with the combination of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. New England could be trying to recreate something similar this year with the drafting of two tight ends (Devin Asiasi of UCLA and Dalton Keene of Virginia Tech) in consecutive team selections.

We know Shanahan and the 49ers were doing their homework on tight ends all offseason. They were reportedly aggressive in finding a companion piece to All-Pro George Kittle as the team "made a run" at Austin Hooper before the tight end signed with the Cleveland Browns.

Was Shanahan looking to create his own Gronkowski-Hernandez combination?

San Francisco did end up selecting a tight end in the draft, picking up Charlie Woerner of Georgia in the sixth round, but it is the first-round selection of Aiyuk that has Zierlein intrigued.

"The more I watched, I just didn't get [why Aiyuk was being undervalued during evaluations]," Zierlein said on the Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks show. "I just kept thinking, 'I don't know. This guy is really special with the ball in his hands, and he's super competitive.' ... I think he is a fantastic addition, and here's what I love: If Kyle Shanahan is part of a team, and he does something where you go, 'Hmm, what's this about?' That's like when Bill Belichick is doing it. For him to have Deebo (Samuel) and then to add Brandon Aiyuk, that should terrify NFC West teams and the entire NFC because he's got a plan.

"I think he's got a plan because they do have some similarities in terms of what they do. There is some replication, but that just means that what he's found, basically, is the new two tight-end set, only he's doing it out of (the) slot. And that would really scare me because he' got a plan. I don't know what it is, but he's the most impressive play-caller in pro football. He has been for about five or six years, and I think you're going to see a plan unfold that teams aren't ready for that involves Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo on the field together, even though they do similar things."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Zierlein below.

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