49ers

Shanahan unimpressed by Aiyuk's big game, expects more from WR

49ers

Brandon Aiyuk's tremendous rookie season hit a new high point Sunday when he grabbed a career-high 10 passes for 119 yards in the 49ers' Week 14 loss to the Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium.

Despite the gaudy numbers, coach Kyle Shanahan didn't seem overly impressed with the rookie's career day, noting he expects even more from the No. 25 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

"I thought he had one of his better games last week (vs. the Bills)," Shanahan said Monday. "I know he had some good stats, but I have high expectations for Brandon. I just want him to keep improving each week. Each week's a different situation.

"He is a rookie. He handles himself more like a pro than most rookies I've been around, so I think he's got a great future with that, but I still think he can play a lot better, and I think he could have last night, too. I think he took a small step back last night, and I'm hoping he'll take two forward next week."

Aiyuk now is 267 yards away from breaking Jerry Rice's 49ers rookie record for receiving yards, a mark the legendary receiver would be happy to see Aiyuk shatter.

The Arizona State product was the sixth receiver taken in a loaded wideout class, but he currently has the second-highest grade of any first-round receiver, per Pro Football Focus, trailing only Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings.

 
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With the 49ers' playoff hopes all but gone after the loss to Washington, the continued improvement of Aiyuk and fellow first-round pick Javon Kinlaw should be top of mind for Shanahan over the final three weeks.

Aiyuk has shown why Shanahan coveted him so highly in last year's NFL draft, and he's put his game-changing ability on display early in his career.

The fact that Shanahan expects even more of Aiyuk shows just how high the 49ers think his ceiling is.

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