49ers

Aiyuk 'has been spectacular' in camp, 49ers GM Lynch says

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Brandon Aiyuk is impressing the right people during his first training camp with the 49ers.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Thursday he expects the rookie wide receiver to play "a lot" in 2020, and general manager John Lynch sang Aiyuk's praises during an interview with The Athletic's Tim Kawakami that same day.

"Brandon Aiyuk has been spectacular," Lynch said on Thursday's episode of "The TK Show" as part of a longer answer about 2020 first-round picks Aiyuk and Javon Kinlaw. "His level of, like -- gosh, the nuance to his game, the route-running ability. The skill set that we saw on film, sometimes, it translates right away, sometimes it takes some time. Brandon has been really good early, and that gives him a chance."

The 49ers traded up in the first round of this year's draft to select Aiyuk at No. 25 overall. The Arizona State product -- and all of his rookie peers -- didn't have a traditional onboarding period, as offseason programs around the league were held entirely online due to restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

That didn't stop Aiyuk from hitting the ground running in his first professional training camp. Shanahan said after the 49ers' first practice of camp that Aiyuk is "further ahead than a lot of rookies would be at this time,” and the rookie has started to build chemistry with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo due to his consistency in camp. 

 

But Aiyuk isn't satisfied with just being ahead of the rookie learning curve.

"The greatest thing about him is that he believes he's got a lot more left in him, and he comes to work each day," Lynch continued. " ... He's got the great fortune of playing for a guy who did it at the highest level in Wes Welker, who's a technician. And I think Wes and him have hit it off, and Brandon's an easy guy to coach because he wants to be coached so bad, and he takes it to the field. When you teach him something, he files it away, and he does have a tremendous skill set."

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The 49ers won't get an in-game glimpse of Aiyuk before the regular-season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 13, as there are no preseason games this year.

But if Aiyuk's training camp performance is any indication, that could be worth the wait.