Why ex-49ers GM Scot McCloughan didn't give Brandon Aiyuk first-round grade

Why ex-49ers GM Scot McCloughan didn't give Brandon Aiyuk first-round grade

When plays go to the other side of the field, wide receivers sometimes have a tendency to run their route or hit their block with noticeably less intensity than if the play was coming to their side.

According to former 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan, this precise trait is what kept him from giving 49ers draft pick Brandon Aiyuk a first-round grade.

“You’ve got to do the little things, in my opinion,” McCloughan told The Athletic. “To be the type of prospect that everybody wants him to be for the 49ers. You’ve got to do everything. You’ve got to do the things you don’t want to do, that you don’t like to do because it’s part of the responsibility of playing the position.”

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Aiyuk’s physicality was called into question by some scouts during his evaluation process, and his run-blocking certainly needs some technical work.

McCloughan did reiterate that Aiyuk is a first-round talent, who simply requires some refinement around the edges.

[RELATED: Why 49ers' Brandon Aiyuk reminds college coach of ex-Bear Earl Bennett]

“He has got the length, the height, the strength,” McCloughan continued. “The jumping ability, the athleticism, everything. It’s all really good when he’s right. It’s really good. He’s a first-round talent. There’s no doubt.”

Luckily for Aiyuk, he has a former Super Bowl champion as his position coach in Wes Welker and an offensive genius in Kyle Shanahan to help the Arizona State product round out his skill set.

With his raw athleticism, Aiyuk has the potential to turn into a Pro Bowl-caliber wide receiver.

49ers sign Dion Jordan to one-year contract for added D-line depth

49ers sign Dion Jordan to one-year contract for added D-line depth

The 49ers are adding a former top NFL draft pick to their defensive line.

Dion Jordan, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft, has signed a one-year contract with the 49ers, the team announced Friday.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning that the 49ers were expected to sign the defensive end.

The 49ers hosted Jordan on Tuesday, and clearly liked what they saw. Jordan, 30, recorded two sacks last season in seven games with the Raiders.

Jordan hasn't lived up to his draft status since the Miami Dolphins selected him in 2013. The former Oregon Duck also has dealt with a long list of off-field issues. 

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He was reinstated by the NFL last November after serving a 10-game suspension for Adderall. He also missed the entire 2015 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, and has been suspended several other times as well. 

Between the Dolphins, Raiders and Seattle Seahawks, Jordan has 10.5 career sacks over 50 games.

[RELATED: Why Clowney isn't an option in 49ers' edge-rusher search]

The 49ers' defensive line is a strength, but their pass rush on the outside actually is thin. Nick Bosa is a star, and the same goes for Dee Ford when healthy. Arik Armstead plays defensive end in base situations, though he is more effective working inside as a nickel pass-rusher. And then there's Ronald Blair, who is working back from a torn ACL.

Aside from that group, the 49ers could use some help on the outside. Jordan always has been skilled, and should be worth a gamble for the reigning NFC champions.

Kyle Shanahan glad John Lynch has to work out George Kittle's contract

Kyle Shanahan glad John Lynch has to work out George Kittle's contract

George Kittle's contract negotiation will continue to be the talk of 49ers training camp until the star tight end puts pen to paper.

The 49ers and Kittle reportedly still are far apart in negotiations as Kittle looks to secure a payday that sees him get paid as a top-pass catcher and not just a tight end.

As negotiations continue, coach Kyle Shanahan is happy to have Kittle at camp and is glad it's general manager John Lynch's job to work out the contract.

"That's why we're doing everything we can to make sure he's here for a long time," Shanahan said Thursday on KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks." "Lots of stuff to talk through with that. Stuff that I am very glad I don't get paid to do. I'm very glad I can sit here and talk mainly football, and enjoy that stuff with George. That's been great with him because he's been great in the walk-throughs, great in the meetings.

"I know right now, as we speak, every day, I know John's upstairs working his butt off talking to Kittle's agent, and those two are trying to work it out."

Kittle is entering the final year of a four-year contract he signed as a fifth-round draft pick in 2017. Kittle is set to make $2.133 million this season.

Since 2017, Kittle has emerged as the top tight end in football. He's not only a dominant force in the passing game but also is a key piece of the 49ers' rushing attack as one of the best blockers in the NFL. Kittle is the only tight end in 49ers history to record a 1,000-yard season and he set the NFL's single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end in 2018 with 1,377. He followed that up with 1,053 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games last season.

[RELATED: Shanahan already seeing Jimmy G take next step]

While negotiations haven't yielded anything yet, Shanahan has a good feeling everything will get done.

“We don’t have to say how important George is to us,” Shanahan said. “Not only being the best tight end, to me, in the league but also the type of person he is. We’re doing everything we can to get that done. I do feel good about it. It was great to see George today for the first time.

“It was great to see George again today. No one’s changed, and I feel really good about this going forward and I’m optimistic about it. Hopefully, something will happen sooner than later. I’m not too concerned about it, though."

The 49ers will pay Kittle, of that there is little doubt.

The only question remaining is: How much will the best tight in football settle for?

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