Since being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, Brandon Aiyuk has quietly become one of the most underrated young stars in the league. The 25th overall pick out of Arizona State, Aiyuk racked up 60 catches for 748 yards and five touchdowns as a rookie, 56 catches for 826 yards and five touchdowns in 2021, and has already amassed 46 catches for 587 yards and six touchdowns in 2022 though just 10 games.
And yet, Aiyuk is still getting used to being a star in the NFL, as he detailed to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.
“I think just as the season goes along you start to get more and more comfortable, but I’m just trying to continue to get better,” Aiyuk said. “That’s the thing. I still feel as if throughout the games we’ve played I’ve left a lot of plays out there, so that’s my main thing is just trying to capitalize on every single opportunity and every play that I get.”
Fortunately for Aiyuk, those opportunities have come his way steady, as he’s rapidly become a favorite of his quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.
“It’s kind of becoming routine, honestly,” Garoppolo said. “His arms are so long that I’m learning his catch radius and how it’s just different. He had one today over the middle, I put it high in front of him and he just went and got it. Some of those you do on purpose with the location of the defender and some he just makes you look good as a quarterback, so you love having a guy like that.”
If Aiyuk can continue to get more confident in his on-field efforts and turn his extensive preparation into effortless finesse on the field, he’ll join Deebo Samuel in both the Pro Bowl and the second contract club in no time.
Brandon Aiyuk Is Still Working On His Weaknesses
Elsewhere in his interview with Wagoner, Aiyuk discussed his now-infamous drop on third down in the endzone against the Los Angeles Chargers in the third quarter that could have all but put the game away right then and there.
“On the field, I didn’t know it was like a gimme, a freebie, wide open,” Aiyuk said. “So when I saw the film it was even more sickening. But I was just telling my friends and family leaving the hotel that those are the ones that like at the end of the season when everything is all said and done, it will always be plus one that should have been there.”
While Aiyuk still turned in a great effort in Week 10, catching six of the seven balls thrown his way for 84 yards, it’s interesting to see the third-year pro isn’t just letting his mistakes go; that should serve him well down the line.
The San Francisco 49ers’ Receiver Made Things Right
Now, as you may or may not know, Aiyuk actually went semi-viral for a non-football reason during Monday Night Football, when he, while celebrating a touchdown reception, attempted to spike a ball only for it to instead come dangerously close to hitting a cameraman in a very painful place. When asked about this interaction by Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, Aiyuk made sure he made it right.
“We’re good,” Aiyuk said on his ball throw. “You don’t want to hit anybody,” Aiyuk said. “I’m just glad it was one of our own. It was easier to track him down because he’s right here with us.”
Well there you go; all is right in the world and both Aiyuk and the photographer, who is employed by the team, have a fun story to tell from time in Mexico. Factor in the win, and Week 11 was a successful trip all around.