The Dallas Cowboys did their homework at the wide receiver position during the 2020 NFL Draft as they selected CeeDee Lamb with the No. 17 overall pick. Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy spoke about what we saw from San Franciso 49ers rookie wideout Brandon Aiyuk:
“He’s a dynamic player,” McCarthy said of Aiyuk. “We definitely did a lot of research on the whole wide receiver group, and I just can’t say enough about what he was able to show at Arizona State, not only as a receiver, but you really see it in the return game. He’s a dynamic player, and he jumps off the film for the 49ers. He’s been a great fit for them, and you can see he’s been extremely productive.”
When McCarthy mentioned that “you really see it in the return game,” that jumped out to me. It took the 49ers until December to use Aiyuk as a punt returner in a season where the offense has struggled and could use all of the help they could get. Aiyuk has returned a punt twice in the past two games. Once Deebo Samuel went down with an injury, I could understand the argument to leave Aiyuk off returns.
Here’s McCarthy on star linebacker Fred Warner:
“He’s a complete football player, let alone a complete linebacker. I can’t say enough about his instincts, awareness, his ability to make plays. Not only can you see the comfort level that he has in their scheme, but his recognition conceptually in both the run and the pass, it’s impressive. He’s clearly one of the best linebackers that we’ve seen all year. Clearly.”
We’ll have an update on Warner’s injury on Wednesday. Seeing him go down was terrifying, and it’ll be nice to see Warner back on the field again. Warner’s evolution during the past couple of seasons has been nothing short of incredible. The scary part of Warner’s play is that he still has plenty of room to improve.
McCarthy began speaking about former 49ers edge rusher Aldon Smith. For as much as we talk about Alex Smith’s comeback, Aldon went through a very different set of struggles and circumstances. Smith appears to have taken accountability and has bounced back nicely. He leads the Cowboys in sacks and QB hits. It’s good to see Smith on the right track. Here’s McCarthy on Smith:
“It’s been great to have Aldon here. I just think his personal story, his flight, to be doing what he’s doing is something unique and special. He’s been fun to work with — a very creative individual. Personality-wise, I didn’t know what to expect. But Jimmy was adamant about having the opportunity for him to be here, and it’s been great to see him do what he’s been able to do and come back from what he’s been able to endure.”
The 49ers need a pass rusher this offseason, and Smith is a free agent. Why not?