The San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has to be excited after the team took a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL draft. General manager John Lynch pulled the trigger on a trade that moved the 49ers up from No. 31 overall to No. 25 to take receiver Brandon Aiyuk out of Arizona State.

The trade-up is significant. It means the 49ers viewed Aiyuk as a difference-maker. To get to No. 25 the 49ers gave up the fourth-round pick they acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the draft (No. 117) plus a late-fifth round pick (No. 176).

Aiyuk will likely join Deebo Samuel as an outside starter for the 49ers. Like Samuel, Aiyuk is known for his after the catch ability. Aiyuk also has some intriguing athleticism. He ran an unofficial 4.5-second 40-yard dash and had a 40-inch vertical and 128-inch broad jump at the NFL Combine. Both jumps are amongst the best at the position for this year.

With Aiyuk plugged in the 49ers have no excuses for not taking another step forward on offense. The 49ers were the fourth-ranked offense in 2019 with an average of 381.1 yards per game. Certainly among the best offenses in the league but not quite to the degree to be called dominant.

The passing game was what kept the 49ers from leading the league in offense. While they ranked second in rushing yards they were just 13th in passing yards. Hitting on Aiyuk, combined with the potential returns of Trent Taylor and Jalen Hurd, would improve the 49ers passing game to the point where they rank among the top five in the category.

Could the 49ers have the No. 1 offense in the league in 2020? It's possible and if they do the team should be in strong contention of the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

The 49ers have addressed two of their biggest needs in the first round of the NFL draft. Along with Aiyuk, the 49ers took defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw at No. 14. The biggest question now is, do the 49ers, who currently have no picks in the second, third or fourth rounds, sit out the mid-rounds of a draft considered to be uncommonly deep?
  • Levin T. Black
  • Written by:
    A graduate of Ball State University in 2009, Levin was a full-time sports journalist for a few years until he transitioned into a more lucrative career. He began writing for Webzone in 2018 in order to scratch his journalist itch.