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49ers: Three players whose stock is climbing ahead of Week 2

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 16, 2023 at 6:35 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, easily cruising to a 30-7 victory, starting off strong with four consecutive scoring drives and five three-and-outs defensively en route to the win.

In the victory, several 49ers stood out, raising their stock ahead of Week 2, but there were also a few players whose stock took a hit after their Week 1 performance.

Whose stock has climbed ahead of Week 2?

WR Brandon Aiyuk

Perhaps the biggest winner of Week 1, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk continues to turn heads, earning the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award after an eight-catch, 129-yard, and two-touchdown performance against the Steelers.

I've been on the Aiyuk hype for a while now, but the biggest issue with the wideout last season was his ability to make the difficult, contested catches, as he was unable to consistently come down with those last year.

That wasn't the case in Week 1, as Aiyuk corraled in a tough, deep backshoulder touchdown against Patrick Peterson for his second score of the game.

Aiyuk's game has become extremely well-rounded, and that includes his blocking. His stock only continues to climb, especially after the Week 1 performance that he had.

QB Brock Purdy

Ahead of Week 1, there were some questions about Brock Purdy and how he would look out of the bat, and the quarterback answered those questions with arguably the crispest half of football in his career in the first half.

While it was not as strong in the second half, it was nonetheless a great start for Purdy, who will look to continue improving as the season continues.

Purdy continues to flash consistently in areas like eye manipulation downfield and pocket presence, which only continued on Sunday, and will hopefully happen in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Rams.

The question of whether Purdy can win a Super Bowl will only be seen down the road, but it was a promising start for the quarterback who suffered a torn UCL earlier this season.

HC Kyle Shanahan

Throughout his career, head coach Kyle Shanahan has been criticized for starting slow, be it in Week 1 specifically or throughout the full season. Well, that wasn't the case in Week 1 of 2023, as Shanahan called one of the best halves of his 49ers career in the first half, and the team executed very well, leading to 20 points within the first 25 minutes.

More importantly, it was clear Shanahan had his players ready to play, and he deserves the requisite credit for the way his team performed in Week 1, even if there are improvements to be made.

There needs to be a sense of urgency around the 49ers in winning that championship, and you could sense that with the strong start against the Steelers, with credit going to Kyle Shanahan for making that happen.

DT Arik Armstead

Fellow defensive tackle Javon Hargrave enjoyed a good start to his career with the 49ers, but Arik Armstead was the most dominant defensive lineman for San Francisco on Sunday, consistently wreaking havoc on the interior, even if the stat sheets don't necessarily show that.

Armstead created the opportunity for Drake Jackson's first sack of the year, flushing quarterback Kenny Pickett out of the pocket, leading the defensive end to utilize his athleticism for the sack. Later, Armstead's pressure directly led to the Charvarius Ward interception, although it was a poor decision to throw from Pickett.

Armstead has long been an underrated piece of the 49ers defensive line, and it's clear he's still dominating in 2023 with a strong initial performance.

While the eyes may be on Nick Bosa, who just signed a historic extension, and free-agent signing Javon Hargrave, Armstead is certainly a name to keep an eye on if he can remain healthy in 2023.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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