49ers Analysis

Who will have the most receiving yards for the 49ers in 2023?

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The 49ers have a star-studded offense, but there is one player who is emerging as the top target for each quarterback on the team's roster.

After leading the 49ers in receiving yards in two of the past three seasons, Brandon Aiyuk is solidifying his name as a top receiver in the NFL.

In 2022, the Arizona State product’s 1,015 yards ranked him No. 22 of all receivers in the league, but the wideout himself shared during organized team activities last week that he is ready to “take off.” Aiyuk, while recording the first 1,000-yard season of his NFL career, sees his potential to be even more productive.

Throughout the offseason program, Aiyuk was the top target for Trey Lance, Sam Darnold and Brandon Allen alike. The wideout has been working diligently on fine-tuning his route running, and getting in and out of his breaks smoothly to improve his separation from defensive backs covering him.

The wide receivers room is very talented including All-Pro Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud, Danny Gray and rookie Ronnie Bell. The wide-back has yet to participate in team drills, but cornerback Deommodore Lenoir shared the Aiyuk has been the toughest to cover on the field.

"We've been having our battles since college,” Lenoir said during minicamp. “He’s going to be a top-five receiver in this league this year; he's going to put everybody on notice. I feel like he's been so underrated. He really doesn't get the credit he deserves.”

All signs are pointing to Brock Purdy being ready to go come Week 1 of the 2023 regular season, but no matter who is under center, expect Aiyuk to have a significant role for the offense.

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Not only will the former first-round pick be motivated by improving over his statistics from seasons past, but he will be setting himself up for his next NFL contract -- which likely will be the most significant of his career.

“The most receiving yards will be Brandon Aiyuk,” Matt Maiocco said on the 49ersTalk podcast. “I’m confident in that — again if he stays healthy. I just think he’s a really good wide receiver. He’s the best wide receiver on the team, he’s the best route runner and probably has the best hands.”

This, of course, is not to take anything away from Samuel who is an incredibly talented football player and will no doubt play a significant role in the offense in the coming season. Aiyuk, however, is set to have a breakout 2023 season.

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