San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is set up to shine in the near future.
The San Francisco 49ers were hit with yet another major injury last weekend, as star wide receiver Deebo Samuel suffered a hamstring injury. Samuel is expected to miss at least the next two weeks, which will obviously hurt the team, but it does open up an opportunity for rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
The 49ers invested heavily in Aiyuk, trading up to select him with the 25th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. As soon as the pick was made, the fit was painfully obvious. Aiyuk was arguably the best run-after-catch receiver in the entire draft class and nobody creates opportunities for offensive playmakers to create in space better than 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Aiyuk has made an immediate impact for the 49ers this season, piling up 20 receptions for 280 yards and one touchdown through his first six games. The 49ers have also gotten Aiyuk involved as a runner, as he has carried the ball four times for 69 yards and two touchdowns. He is also coming off of the best game of his short career, catching six of seven targets for 115 yards last week against the New England Patriots.
Clearly a talented player, Brandon Aiyuk has gotten his career off on the right track. However, last week’s performance was particularly impressive and with Samuel out of action, Aiyuk is only going to get more opportunity to shine in this offense.
The 49ers are going to continue to scheme Aiyuk touches in space, allowing him to use his impressive combination of speed, quickness and contact balance to create big plays. This weekend against a vulnerable Seattle Seahawks’ defense, Aiyuk is particularly interesting.
The Seahawks have been terrible against opposing passing attacks all season long (allowing the most passing yards per game) and are not particularly impressive against the run. The 49ers are not exactly loaded with their primary offensive playmakers at the moment and will likely look to feed Aiyuk early and often in this game. Against this less than stellar defense, this could become a massive breakout performance for the young receiver.