Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk May Already be Better than Deebo Samuel

Levin T. Black
Aug 17, 2020 at 6:00 AM


The San Francisco 49ers had a clear cut player atop the wide receiver depth chart all off-season in Deebo Samuel. If the returns from the first practices in training camp are an indication of what is to come in the 2020 season, Samuel may already be simply second best on the team.

Samuel had a successful rookie season in 2019. The second-round pick had things click in the second half of the season and ended up with 1,190 yards from scrimmage, including during the playoffs.

With 92 yards in the Super Bowl, Samuel was seen as a rising star in the NFL and very likely to have his first 1,000-yard receiving season this year. An injury has derailed the likelihood of that. Still, he's scheduled to be back in the first half of the season and all signs point to him picking up where he left off in 2019.

That may still happen but he might not find himself the WR getting the most attention from 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan nor the one opposing defenses are concentrating on stopping.

The 49ers took WR Brandon Aiyuk with the 25th pick in the first round in 2020 after an electric season at Arizona State University. The selection left Shanahan in a way that can be described as giddy.


The electricity he displayed in college showed up over the weekend in practice. Coming out of the locker room by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's side, the pair seems to have already formed a strong cohesion.

Aiyuk made some big plays and left the media on hand tweeting about how impressive he was. It was the story of the day on Sunday.


Is there too much being made of a few practices? Certainly possible. The hype train isn't just being driven by the media however. Shanahan himself praised the rookie.


Shanahan isn't the type to talk up an undeserving player. He has consistently criticized WR Dante Pettis for instance. For Shanahan to say what he did, Aiyuk must be impressing behind the scenes as well.

With Aiyuk's deep threat ability he's likely to get a lot of the routes Emmanuel Sanders ran last year. However, Aiyuk is also deadly once he has the ball. He averaged a dazzling 10.6 yards after the catch in his final year at ASU.

It's not hard to imagine Shanahan calling plays to get the ball into Aiyuk's hands quickly and then let the playmaker create. It's something that was done for Samuel often last year. With him out, Aiyuk has a chance to shine early.

It's possible he runs with the opportunity and is entrenched as the top receiver on the team by the time Samuel returns. If that scenario emerges, Samuel's return could be the cherry on top that pushes the 49ers offense into historic territory.

Until then, all aboard the Aiyuk bandwagon. There's still plenty of room but seats are likely to fill up fast.
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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