San Francisco 49ers take Florida receiver Ricky Pearsall with the 30th pick in the NFL draft

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch got a text from star receiver Brandon Aiyuk soon after drafting Florida’s Ricky Pearsall with the 30th pick.

Aiyuk's message about his former teammate was glowing: “Fire pick. Can’t lie.”

The Niners ended the first day of the NFL draft by adding a rookie receiver in Pearsall and keeping its established stars Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel despite heavy speculation that one of them could have been moved Thursday night.

San Francisco is trying to get a long-term deal done with Aiyuk after giving Samuel one two years ago, raising the question of whether the 49ers would trade Aiyuk if they can't sign him or trade Samuel if they can and aren't willing to carry two high-priced receivers on the roster.

Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan wouldn't definitively rule out any potential trades of Aiyuk or Samuel but deemed it as unlikely, especially now that the first round of the draft is over.

“I know that we’re continuing to have positive talks with BA," Lynch said. “We are really efforting to get something done with him. We’re excited about continuing down that path with Brandon being a part of this team and Deebo is a part of this team and a big part of this team. We feel great about that group and we feel like we’ve made it better.”

Pearsall had 65 catches for 965 yards and four touchdowns last season at Florida and gives the Niners a possible option as a slot receiver. Pearsall was known for some highlight-reel catches during his time in college and now is the latest potential playmaker added to a dynamic offense that made it to the Super Bowl last season.

Pearsall began his college career at Arizona State where he was teammates with Aiyuk in 2019, leading to the happy text Aiyuk sent to Lynch and a congratulatory call to Pearsall.

“We have a really good relationship,” Pearsall said. “I just got off the phone with him before I got over here on this Zoom call, and he was just congratulating me and telling me over and over again, ‘You’re a first rounder, man. Soak it up.’ There's been a lot of work put in since we last ran routes together. I feel like I’m a totally different player since the last time we've seen each other.”

Pearsall got on the radar of many observers thanks to his one-handed catch against Charlotte last September that quickly became an internet sensation.

It was the more routine work that impressed the Niners, who stressed his ability to play inside and outside, his attention to detail on route-running, ability to block downfield and refusal to go down at first contact as big reasons why they drafted him.

“There’s not one play,” said Shanahan, who compared Pearsall to a far more talented version of himself as a a little-used wide receiver at Texas more than two decades ago.

“He’s going to go over the middle and do everything he can to catch that ball and not worry about anything else. When he’s on the sidelines he’s not taking the easy way out. He makes guys tackle him and is not looking for a place to fall. When he doesn’t have the ball, he plays just as hard.”

This was the first time the Niners had a pick in the first round since 2021 when they drafted quarterback Trey Lance third overall. San Francisco traded their first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 to move up nine spots that year to take Lance, who started only four games for the 49ers before being traded to Dallas last August.