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.
“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.