Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Rosenthal: 49ers rookie Brandon Aiyuk among NFL players with most work to do before kickoff

Aug 14, 2020 at 1:20 PM--

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Media named 13 individuals (not players because there were some coaches on the list) who have the most work to do before the NFL kicks off the 2020 season. One San Francisco 49ers player — rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk — made it onto the list.

"Deebo Samuel's foot injury sped up Aiyuk's timeline to produce," explains Rosenthal. "The first-round pick is a YAC monster who is expected to take Jimmy Garoppolo's short passes a long way. Kendrick Bourne is the best healthy returning receiver in a quietly underwhelming group, making Aiyuk's quick transition crucial to the 49ers' success. If you are looking for reasons the 49ers could regress, start with the receivers before heading to the secondary."

YAC monster indeed. Aiyuk averaging 10.9 yards after the catch at Arizona State in 2019, according to Pro Football Focus. Shanahan was probably salivating at what he could do with both Aiyuk and Samuel lining up at the same time on the football field. That may have to wait. Although, Samuel might tell you otherwise.

Aiyuk didn't have the benefit of an entire offseason of face-to-face learning and chemistry-building on the practice field. There is a lot of pressure on him to pick things up quickly and make an immediate impact as a pass-catcher.

The 49ers also have two receivers working their way back to the lineup after missing all of last season with injuries. Trent Taylor (foot) was developing into one of Jimmy Garoppolo's favorite offseason targets before his injury sidelined him. The 6-foot-5 Jalen Hurd (back) missed his rookie campaign and will bring some much-needed size to the 49ers receiver group.

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