49ers

NFL Draft 2020: 49ers loved Brandon Aiyuk enough to take him at No. 13

NFL Draft 2020: 49ers loved Brandon Aiyuk enough to take him at No. 13

Both 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan believed they came away from the first day of the 2020 NFL Draft with a win, getting two players that were worth their original No. 13 overall pick. 

The 49ers traded down one spot to No. 14 and selected South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw to fill the void that was left by DeForest Buckner, who was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in March. 

Lynch and Shanahan were very happy that Kinlaw was there, but somewhat surprisingly, if he had already been selected, they were prepared to take Arizona State receiver Brandon Aiyuk with that same pick. 

“I loved Aiyuk,” Shanahan said. “He has on tape that he can run every single route, and he can do it outside the numbers and he can do it inside the numbers. The guy is just completely committed, to me, to being as good as God ever intended him to be.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

The draft can be a little bit of a guessing game, trying to outsmart other teams that might be vying for the same players that are on your list. Aiyuk’s stock had been rising as the draft approached, and Shanahan was fearful that he would be taken before they had a shot to draft him.  

“[Aiyuk] was more than a viable option at 13 and the fact that we were able to get him that late, I feel very fortunate and very happy for the Niners today,” Shanahan said. “There’s a few guys you can’t pass at 13, and Kinlaw was one of those guys.

“Aiyuk was one of the guys we were going to do that for if Kinlaw wasn’t there. And then to still be there, sitting there at 31, and a guy that we would have done it, if we had to, at 13 is sitting there, when we’re at 31, available at 25, and we feel very strongly, from our intel over the last few months, there’s no way Aiyuk is getting to 31.” 

The 49ers are attempting to not only fill the void left by Buckner, but the one left in the receivers room by Emmanuel Sanders, who signed with the New Orleans Saints in free agency. Shanahan has been looking for a starting No. 1 wide receiver and believes he now has that in Aiyuk

[RELATED: Why Aiyuk-to-49ers was destiny]

“We added two guys here today that, without a doubt, are starting caliber players who will make our team better, who are going to be contributors on their first contract for a long time,” Shanahan said. “And that will really help us in free agency next year, that will really help us in the draft next year and it will really help the 2021 49ers.”

49ers' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

49ers' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

Arik Armstead doesn't want to hear it.

The 49ers defensive lineman spoke to Sactown Magazine for its July/August issue, and says that if you're not willing to listen to his dialogue off the field about social issues affecting our country, he doesn't want you tuning in to watch him and his teammates dominate on the field.

“If you don’t want me speaking out against racism and social issues and social injustices, then don’t watch me play on Sundays," Armstead said. "Can’t have a piece of me and not all of me.”

Armstead also joined NBC Sports Bay Area's "Race In America" series a few weeks ago, and spoke about the pain he felt seeing video of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police Custody.

"Like, why do I have to continue -- why do we have to continue to see people that look like us get murdered on social media and on the TV?" Armstead told Logan Murdock and Monte Poole on  "Race In America: A Candid Conversation." " ... I'm on Instagram, and I just got to see another Black person get killed unjustly."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

The 26-year-old also discussed a time when he was racially profiled by local police near a friend's house in Elk Grove.

“A cop gets behind us, pulls us over,” Armstead recalls. “‘What y’all doing? Where y’all going?’”

[RELATED: Colin Kaepernick, Nate Boyer helped enact real change with discussion]

The officer then made Armstead and his friends prove that they knew the people whose house they were traveling to, by bringing the cop with them to the front door and having the friend explain that he was acquainted with Armstead.

Armstead has made it clear he won't be staying silent or "sticking to sports." For those who don't want to hear Armstead's voice on these issues, don't expect him to care whether you watch him play on Sundays.

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

Joe Staley long has been a model of consistency for the 49ers, spending the past 12 seasons protecting a myriad of 49ers quarterbacks as San Francisco's starting left tackle.

Staley's younger teammates held so much respect for him, as you could see from the many who spoke publicly in the wake of Staley's retirement back in April.

It appears even in retirement Staley continues to inspire his former teammates, as 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne shared an Instagram direct message from Staley on Sunday morning.

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"Never lose sight of the goal. The ring," Staley wrote to Bourne. "That's all that matters in what we do. I never got it. You. Mr KB!! Go get it!! F-----g GET IT!! Make me proud bro. I love watching your hustle. All love."

Staley was responding to a video Bourne had posted of some of the hardware he's earned over his football career, including one of the game balls from the 49ers' blowout Week 8 win over the Carolina Panthers.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should explore David Njoku trade with Browns after demand]

Bourne and the 49ers came so close to helping Staley capture that elusive championship ring, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied from a 10-point deficit to stun San Francisco at Super Bowl LIV.

The 49ers won the offseason in the eyes of some pundits around the league, and appear primed for another deep postseason run. It'll be up to Bourne, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and the rest of the 49ers' talented roster to finish the job if they can get back to the Super Bowl.