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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch expecting big things from 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

Aug 25, 2022 at 12:12 PM--

Brandon Aiyuk is entering his third NFL season and looks to build on his first two years, which saw the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver haul in a total of 116 receptions for 1,574 yards and 10 touchdowns. Aiyuk has been a standout in training camp, and many predict a breakout season for the 24-year-old.

Aiyuk has been a challenge for his defensive back teammates tasked with defending him during practices.

"I feel like he's having the best camp out of everybody on the team, offense and defense," veteran safety Jimmie Ward said earlier this month.

Before being sidelined with an injury, newcomer Charvarius Ward loved going against Aiyuk, who proved to be a handful for the talented cornerback.

"I love competing against B.A.," Ward said. "He's got big hands, long arms, and he can jump like almost 60 inches in the air. He's great to compete against. ... I got big hands. His hands are bigger than mine. B.A. got the potential to be one of those great receivers. He can be a real wide receiver No. 1."

Aiyuk's year-three jump has head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch excited. Not only will Trey Lance have Deebo Samuel at his disposal, but Aiyuk could make a nice one-two punch for the second-year quarterback.

"He's just a lot further along," Shanahan said of Aiyuk this week on KNBR. "He's so much more ready to go at this time, compared to last year, at the beginning of the year. The way he finished last year is where he picked up this offseason. We were real happy with Brandon and what he ended up being last year."

Some felt that Aiyuk's slow start in training camp pushed him into his head coach's dog house. The wideout started the season with just one catch for six yards in San Francisco's first two games.

"It started out slower than our expectations, and it was by no means a dog house either," Shanahan continued. "It was that he wasn't where we thought he needed to be to [have] the consistency of a starting receiver. And I know that disappoints a lot of people, especially when they have high expectations in fantasy football and things like that at the beginning of the year. I get it. So do my kids. But we've got to put guys there who are fully ready for all 70 plays, and he wasn't quite there yet.

"But he fought through it, and he proved himself big time as the year went on. And everyone sees his ability. I consider him one of the leaders of our team right now. He's had as good of a camp as anyone."

Lynch also joined KNBR this week, sharing his thoughts on the young wideout.

"I don't know if anyone's worked harder this offseason," Lynch said. "You talk about a kid who has made a giant leap. And some guys, you hope. 'Man, I hope this is his year.' I know it's going to be Brandon's year because of the work he's put in, and because you know when a guy is just doing it every day, that translates to the field, and it translates to game time.

"And I know Brandon has been that way this entire offseason. It carried over from late last year. Really, really excited for him, and he's earned that with the way he's worked. He was also smart. He hung out with his quarterback all offseason, so their chemistry is incredible right now, and it's going to be fun to watch that come into fruition as we start this season."


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