The wide receiver position will be discussed a lot when it comes to the San Francisco 49ers in 2020. With star wideout Deebo Samuel expected to be out for up to four months with a Jones fracture, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan are hoping someone from within in the building will step up if Samuel winds up missing some games.
San Francisco took YAC monster Brandon Aiyuk No. 25 overall in the NFL Draft, and added Jauan Jennings with its final pick in the seventh-round. Lynch and co. have selected five other receivers since being hired by the Niners in 2017: Trent Taylor in their first draft, Dante Pettis, and Richie James in 2018, followed by Samuel, and Jalen Hurd last year.
The Ringer’s Robert Mays wrote an interesting piece on how the 49ers’ approach to receivers is affecting the rest of the NFL:
“It’s impossible to know just how far teams will go in mimicking the Niners’ game plan with Samuel, but it’s all but certain that we’ll see more offenses try to incorporate similar concepts in 2020. Coaches are always chasing the latest offensive trend, and this year, that might just be the Niners’ wide receiver blueprint.”
Mays highlighted how the 49ers used Samuel so effectively in the running game. Deebo finished last season with 14 carries for 159 yards, and three touchdowns. Mays writes that Samuel is used similarly to players such as Golden Tate, Curtis Samuel, and Percy Harvin, with each getting plenty of opportunities run the ball.
It looks like Aiyuk will get some similar plays called for him during his rookie season, especially if Samuel misses extended time. Shanahan has went on record talking about Aiyuk’s speed with the ball in his hands, so expect to see the young receiver in motion prior to the snap often.
Shanahan has shown how much he like to use jet motions, and deception to throw off opposing defenses. In order for him to do that, teams have to respect the versatility of the Niners’ offensive skill position players.
With guys like Samuel, Aiyuk, Hurd, and Kyle Juszczyk on the roster, it shows how much Shanny appreciates players that he can line up anywhere on the field, who can make big plays with the ball in their hands.
I don’t know if this trend will become more prominent among NFL offenses, but Mays is right to point out the blueprint San Francisco is using may cause the other squads to rethink their strategy when it comes to the receiver position.
On to some links:
Speaking of receivers, the Niners have plenty of options to choose from. SI’s Jose Luiz Sanchez III says one veteran is a lock to make the final roster.
Sticking with the wideouts, how do you think Aiyuk will stack up next to his fellow rookie receivers? PFF’s George Chahrouri thinks Aiyuk will outshine the rest of his peers. (h/t 247Sports’ Matt Howe.
When Ronnie Lott speaks, you listen. NBC Bay Area’s Josh Schrock writes about why one of the all-time great defensive players thinks quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be even better in 2020.
Garoppolo faced a lot of heat during the 2019 season, both on-and-off the field. PFF says Jimmy G was the most blitzed QB last year, Heavy.com broke down some of the numbers on how Garoppolo handled the pressure.
San Francisco looks to be set at the back end of its defense with Jimmie Ward, and Jarquiski Tartt. Fansided’s Peter Panacy has three burning questions facing the safeties going into next season.
There have been some great 49ers squads throughout the years. Kyle Madson of Niners Wire gives his thoughts on which team records may never be broken.