Through all the effort devoted to finding the best possible incoming football players every April, one question can’t be resolved until the player shows up for work: Does he get it?
49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk, a first-rounder in 2020, apparently does.
“Today was the first full-speed practice and I thought he did a pretty good job today,” coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Saturday. “We’ll see when we go watch the film, but I’ve been real impressed with him, just being around him. He was very impressive on the Zoom meetings. Just his attention to detail. But, since we’ve gotten here, just going through these walkthroughs and stuff, you can tell he knows how to practice like a pro. You can tell he comes prepared every day. He’s not a guy you’ve had to teach how to act or teach how important it is to learn this stuff. You can tell he understood that before he got here and since we’ve been around him, you can tell he’s been working and that’s why he’s further ahead, I think, than a lot of rookies would be at this time.”
Shanahan said that both of his team’s first-rounders — Aiyuk and defensive linemen Javon Kinlaw — have checked the boxes when it comes to knowing how to act at the next level.
“When you have guys like Kinlaw and Aiyuk come in and the players are probably expecting to tell them, ‘Hey, you’ve got to turn it on a little bit. This isn’t college.’ When you don’t have to tell guys like that, it is impressive,” Shanahan said. “They are working right away, so they do seem like a pro, but today was the first practice. We’ve got a long way to go. The key will be keeping that up.”
Yes it will. But it’s better to be ahead of the game than behind it at this point, and Aiyuk is ahead of the game.