Tweaks to the roster were made during the offseason, as the 49ers traded for left tackle Trent Williams to replace the retiring Joe Staley, and drafted defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
There are big expectations for Aiyuk. The 6-foot receiver with an 80-inch wingspan is a YAC king who should thrive in coach Kyle Shanahan's offense. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, who has been working out with Aiyuk in San Jose, offered high praise for the rookie on Twitter after PierrePierre Productions posted some photos of the two wide receivers working out.
Yesssir!!!! 💪🏾 he's gonna be apart of why we get back to the Super Bowl! 😤 https://t.co/g2763yWMVi
— Kendrick Bourne Poly (@BournePoly11) July 1, 2020
Aiyuk flashed some of his tantalizing potential that has the 49ers so excited about his 2020 prospects.
— PierrePierreProductions (@yopierrepierre) July 1, 2020
A lot already was going to be placed on Aiyuk's shoulders with Emmanuel Sanders leaving for the New Orleans Saints in free agency. But with Deebo Samuel suffering a Jones fracture in his foot, Aiyuk will be asked to step up even more as the 49ers try to weather the injury to their No. 1 receiver. Samuel has said he'll be back in 10 weeks, but his initial timetable reportedly was 12 to 16 weeks and Jones fractures are tricky and often take longer to heal than expected.
With Samuel possibly missing the start of the season, the door is open for Aiyuk, Dante Pettis, Jalen Hurd and Jauan Jennings to carve out a role in the offense and fill the void left by Samuel.
Aiyuk undoubtedly will play a critical role in determining the success of the 2020 49ers.
Shanahan has built an offense predicated on getting his playmakers the ball and letting them rack up the yards after catch. Aiyuk was one of the best at forcing missed tackles last season, and his ability to take the top off a defense will make the 49ers' offense even more dangerous once it's at full strength. He has all the skills you want in a modern NFL receiver. Receivers often take time to transition to the NFL, but the 49ers need it to be a quick and smooth jump to the next level for Aiyuk.
The 49ers are built to win now. They return 10 starters on what was a dominant defense last season and eight on one of the most efficient offenses in the NFL.
All eyes will be on Aiyuk, especially early in the season. If he can find his footing early and be a key cog in the offense, the 49ers will be on the fast track to Tampa in February.
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Kendrick Bourne believes Brandon Aiyuk helps 49ers return to Super Bowl originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area