Brandon Aiyuk Drawing Huge Praise At 49ers’ Training Camp

Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers
NFL Analysis Network

Heading into the 2021 season, San Francisco 49ers’ wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was a popular breakout candidate. In 12 games as a rookie, Aiyuk caught 60 passes for 748 yards and five touchdowns. It was him, not Deebo Samuel, garnering a ton of attention as the team’s potential No. 1 receiver.

Alas, as training camp went on, something changed. Aiyuk ultimately found himself in the doghouse of head coach Kyle Shanahan. Samuel went on to put together an All-Pro season, turning into a hybrid weapon as a wide receiver and running back.

Aiyuk eventually regained the trust of the coaching staff as his playing time increased as the season went on. From Week 8 and on in the regular season, Aiyuk was on the field for at least 88 percent of the team’s offensive snaps.

As training camp moves along this season, a visit to the doghouse does not look to be in Aiyuk’s future. In fact, Aiyuk has received a ton of praise from the coaching staff as Shanahan shared that the former first-round pick is doing everything that he needs to do to improve on the field.

“He’s developing in all the stuff he needed to do to get better,” Shanahan said. “He comes off the ball every play, he runs full speed every play, he’s not slow-playing stuff anymore. He’s not sitting there and fighting with guys with his hands. He’s doing it with his feet, with his hips, creating edges by running, breaking down. If you want to get open in this league, you have to be so violent on how you run and putting your knees into the ground and everything. And that’s hard on guys a lot. They do that like three days in a row, and sometimes they have to take a week off. That’s why it’s so crucial how these guys prepare. And it’s hard when we’re not around him, but B.A., he did it all when he was away from us, he did it all throughout OTAs and his body can handle everything he’s doing and that’s why he is getting better right now.”

Aiyuk has a chance to set some career-highs in 2022 as the 49ers transition to a new offense. Trey Lance has taken over as the team’s starting quarterback, replacing Jimmy Garoppolo and hopefully raising the ceiling of the unit with his dual-threat ability.

At the very least, Aiyuk should be the third option in the passing game behind Samuel and tight end George Kittle. That should lead to plenty of chances to produce as the 49ers could become more of a throwing team with Lance leading the way instead of Garoppolo.