Brandon Aiyuk has been everything the 49ers hoped for as a rookie, and then some. The only downside to his first year as a pro is the fact that he has missed multiple games to injury and being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
However, NBC Sports' Chris Simms believes a healthy Aiyuk could have been in the mix for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"I think he'd be in that conversation, yeah definitely," Simms said to NBC Sports Bay Area's Grant Liffmann. "He's so impressive."
Aiyuk is coming off the best game of his young career after hauling in 10 receptions for 119 yards in the 49ers' loss to the Washington Football Team. Entering Sunday, Aiyuk now has 50 receptions for 660 yards and four touchdowns. He also has rushed for two more touchdowns.
The Arizona State product is 268 yards away from breaking Jerry Rice's franchise rookie record for receiving yards. The 49ers traded up in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft to select Aiyuk with the No. 25 overall pick, and he has far outplayed that slot.
"Shanahan and Lynch killed it with that draft pick," Simms said. "He's got it all, he really does. Size, plays bigger than his actual size, we know his route running is good, he's effective in the Shanahan jet sweeps that we see Deebo Samuel and everybody get ... he can do that as well.
"There's really not a weakness to his football game."
From Aiyuk to Justin Jefferson, Chase Claypool, Jerry Jeudy, Michael Pittman Jr. and more, this has been an extremely impressive draft class for wide receivers. Unfortunately for Aiyuk, missing games will cost him when it comes to the Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"Justin Jefferson's probably been the most impressive rookie wide receiver," Simms said. "After that, it gets into Aiyuk and Chase Claypool. If [Aiyuk] doesn't miss the three games, I think he's in the conversation with Justin Herbert to win Offensive Rookie of the Year."