Why Brandon Aiyuk Will Have a Slow Start in 2020
Jose Luis Sanchez III
Patience is going to be the keyword for the 2020 NFL season when it comes to the rookies. With OTAs and mini-camp eliminated, rookies all across the league are going to be deprived of critical reps.
It may just seem like simple practice reps, but it is essential for a rookie to start getting acclimated to the NFL. Offseason practices are considered the first steps for these rookies. That is why the league has a rookie mini-camp because it is designed for these players to break themselves in.
Because of these lost reps, 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk will have a slow start in 2020.
The Niners are not going to dish out a heavy plate to Aiyuk when the season begins -- that just wouldn't be ideal. Bringing him along slowly as he shows progression will be the right time to increase his workload. It took Deebo Samuel half a season and the addition of Emmanuel Sanders to hit his stride.
Just imagine how long it will take for Aiyuk. Of course, he could just outright blow off the doors and look like an immediate polished player. However, I wouldn't hold my breathe about that. Aiyuk is sure to have his moments because he is a sweet talent. Nevertheless, patience is going to be key with him and the rest of the rookies.
Lack of practice reps isn't the only thing that will contribute to Aiyuk having a slow start next season. For the first time since Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch took over, the 49ers have an adequate supply of talent at wide receiver. Finally, Shanahan will be able to use a ton of variety that he has envisioned.
With the competition at receiver so high, Aiyuk is going to really need to show some consistent and promising performances for Shanahan to implement him more.
The one thing Aiyuk has going for him and why I believe he is ahead of most of the receivers is his draft status.
The 49ers didn't trade up for him in the first-round of the draft because they view him as a project or as depth. Aiyuk is going to be a player that Shanahan will rely upon at some point in the season. Whether that is mid-season or toward the end, Aiyuk will be a player that Shanahan will want to feature eventually. It most likely just won't be around the start of the season due to the lack of reps and competition at the position.
Starting slow next season should not be perceived negatively. Not every rookie is able to step in and impact the team on Day 1. As long as Aiyuk finds his form and maintains it at some point in the season, the 49ers' offense will find endless possibilities.