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Golden Nuggets: Brandon Aiyuk was a forgotten man in a deep rookie WR class

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Thursday, February 18, 2021

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San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In today’s Nuggets, you’ll read why the 49ers were at Trevor Lawrence’s, a couple summary of Jimmy G’s teammates supporting him, what the 49ers could do with Dee Ford, trading Nick Bosa, and a review of the NFC West rookie class.

2020 NFL rookie grades, NFC West: 49ers hit on premium picks; will Cardinals’ boldness pay off?

Aiyuk feels like something of a forgotten man. Not to the good folks over at Pro Football Focus, who ranked him as the eighth-best rookie in the entire draft class, but to the football-watching public at large. Maybe this socially distanced existence has me creating straw men from an isolation chamber, but it just doesn’t feel like Aiyuk gets the hype of some of his higher-profile WR classmates — and I’m here to fix that! Like Deebo Samuel, Aiyuk is a perfect fit for Kyle Shanahan’s catch-and-run scheme.

Remember the hurdle touchdown against Philadelphia? Dude’s electric with the ball in his hands. Put some respect on the name! Oh, and stop disrespecting Kinlaw. Yes, he was essentially taken with the first-round pick San Francisco acquired in the DeForest Buckner trade. No, he didn’t come close to matching Buckner’s production this past season. This is OK. Kinlaw still has work to do in the technical aspects of his game, but he flashed disruptive ability on a weekly basis, routinely detonating O-lines with brute strength and rare athleticism.

Why the 49ers Should Trade Nick Bosa

If the 49ers keep Bosa, they’re betting on him to stay healthy. I don’t like those odds.

I’m betting that Bosa will continue to miss lots of time. So I’d trade him now if I were the San Francisco 49ers. I’d trade him before he suffers another injury and his value drops.

I’d trade him to the New York Jets for the No. 2 pick, because Jets head coach Robert Saleh loves Bosa, and Bosa was the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft. So the 49ers essentially would get back what they spent on Bosa.

And then the 49ers could trade down and turn Bosa into multiple picks. They could trade down from the No. 2 pick to the No. 4 pick, and then use the picks they acquired in that deal to trade up from the No. 12 pick to the No. 5 pick. Meaning the 49ers could turn one injury-prone Bosa into two top-five picks.

What are the 49ers’ options with ailing Dee Ford?

If Ford was healthy, the situation would be straightforward, partly because Ford has no fully guaranteed money in the final two years of his contract. Ford is scheduled to count $20.08 million against the salary cap in 2021, the second-highest figure on the team behind Garoppolo ($26.4 million). The 49ers could release Ford, absorb a dead-cap hit of $14.3 million and create $5.7 million in cap space.

Jimmy Garoppolo fully endorsed by key 49ers players

Garoppolo has been dealing with criticism since the end of last year. Along with that, he has been receiving support since the end of last year as well.

Even with key players pointing to the fact Garoppolo helped lead the team to the Super Bowl only a year ago, he has not stayed healthy and continues to face criticism this offseason. The play-calling differences from when Shanahan has had Jimmy G under center compared to other QBs this year should make fans speculate how much Shanahan trusts Garoppolo with the ball in his hands.

Only throwing eight passes in the NFC Championship game a year ago, playing great until he didn’t in the Super Bowl, and all the injury issues leave Jimmy G’s future in the red and gold uncertain.

49ers VP of Player Personnel explains why team attended Trevor Lawrence’s Pro Day

“It wasn’t just Trevor Lawrence,” Peters told Barrows in the Athletic. “There were a couple of (Clemson players) there. And Ethan Waugh, our college director, he lives in South Carolina. So it’s an easy trip for him. And then Steve Rubio, who’s our Southeast scout, there are a couple of other Clemson players there along with some pro free agents.”