49ers rookie Aiyuk reminds Simms of Hall of Fame WR Bruce


Brandon Aiyuk has a long way to go to become a Hall of Fame receiver, but for NBC Sports' Chris Simms, the 49ers' rookie wideout already has the look of one.

"I'll go back to what (Kyle) Shanahan told me during the draft process when we were talking a good amount," Simms told NBC Sports Bay Area. "He said to me that Aiyuk reminded him of Isaac Bruce with the Rams back in that day. And damn, I can't get that picture out of my head now when I watch Aiyuk, because I think he's exactly right.

"Like, the body language is similar, the way they run, everything that way," Simms continued, "great route runner, fearless over the middle, can make some people miss, and then we see he's got speed to do some special things that way, too. So, really a polished, really NFL-ready receiver. And then he's got the great advantage ... of a really, really creative offensive coordinator, who just knows how to get the ball to guys in the right way and get them in space to where they can be special, and Aiyuk so far has shown he's pretty damn good."

Bruce was a member of the 2020 class recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a decorated 16-year career in which he hauled in 1,024 receptions for 15,208 yards and 91 touchdowns. He spent his first 14 seasons with the Rams franchise before joining the 49ers for the final two.

Aiyuk's career began where Bruce's concluded, and after missing Week 1 due to injury, he has shown flashes of the potential that prompted San Francisco to trade up in the first round of the 2020 draft to pick him. He led all 49ers receivers with five receptions for 70 yards in their 36-9 win over the New York Giants last week, and added another 31 yards on the ground -- including a 19-yard rush for his first career touchdown.

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Numerous injuries have thrust Aiyuk into a more prominent role, but so far, he seems fully capable of handling it. It remains to be seen if he'll follow in Bruce's footsteps, but he's certainly off to a good start.

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