This PFF stat shows how Aiyuk is elite as a ball carrier originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
When Kyle Shanahan targeted receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the 2020 NFL Draft, it was clear what he was looking for: A versatile weapon who can hurt defenses in many different ways.
Sound familiar? In essence, the 49ers added another Deebo Samuel when they took Aiyuk with the No. 25 overall pick in the draft. Samuel was both a threat as a pass-catcher and ball carrier as a rookie last year. The same has been true for Aiyuk this year.
Aiyuk is tied with Los Angeles Rams veteran Robert Woods with the most forced missed tackles by a receiver on rushing attempts with four this season, according to Pro Football Focus. What makes this even more impressive for Aiyuk, is that he has done this is only three games after missing the season opener with a hamstring injury.
Most missed forced tackles on runs (WRs):— PFF (@PFF) October 8, 2020
💥 Brandon Aiyuk & Robert Woods: 4 pic.twitter.com/LSGJGib5x9
Aiyuk already has two rushing touchdowns in three games. He has 69 yards rushing on four carries, all in the past two games. His ability with the ball in his hands was on full display when he made a highlight reel 38-yard touchdown capped by hurdling a defender last week in the 49ers' loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Aiyuk jumped clean over the defender for the TD 😲 pic.twitter.com/SvPlImn1k6— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) October 5, 2020
This past season, Samuel led all receivers with 18 forced missed tackles on receptions. He also had 159 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the regular season. The former second-round pick added another 102 yards rushing in the playoffs.
In his season debut last Sunday against the Eagles, Samuel had one carry for 10 yards.
Aiyuk has continued to earn more snaps each of the past three weeks. With a healthy Samuel now in the mix, Shanahan has two receivers he can use as ball carriers who always make defenders miss.