Schrager jumps on Aiyuk hype train, predicts he'll make ‘the leap'


There are big expectations for 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk this season.

Many NFL pundits are predicting that Aiyuk is sitting on a breakout campaign in his third season, including Peter Schrager of "Good Morning Football."

"It is finally the year that Brandon Aiyuk steps up and becomes a thing," Schrager said on NFL Network on Wednesday. "Brandon Aiyuk in San Francisco is a guy to watch. He has had an outstanding offseason."

Aiyuk, the No. 25 overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, has been solid thus far with 116 catches for 1,574 yards over his first two seasons, but he has not entered stardom like other receivers taken in the first round of that draft like Minnesota Vikings' Justin Jefferson and CeeDee Lamb of the Dallas Cowboys.

"A first-rounder who has not filled expectations," Schrager said. "Hasn’t been the number one guy. Deebo [Samuel] has been. Aiyuk has kind of been a fine complementary player, but he has not shown first-round statistics.

"This year, what we’re hearing – he’s a huge part of the offseason, and the reason being is his connection with Trey Lance. Trey Lance and Aiyuk have connected over the past two seasons, and in this particular offseason these guys worked out together, and they brought what they did in the spring to the summer.

"At training camp this year, all anyone out of Niners camp is talking about is how good Aiyuk has looked because of Lance throwing him the rock."

Lance and Aiyuk spent a couple of weeks this summer working out together in Southern California. 

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“We got to stay in the same house together with a couple other people and just hang out by the fire, talk, really just get to know who he is and him getting to know who I am outside of playing football,” Aiyuk said in July of their offseason workouts. “Because that’s really the only time we get to see each other, so being down there a couple weeks and working hard, putting in hours grinding together and then hanging out, just chilling afterward."

That offseason work is paying off. The experts have taken note.

"The Niners have not given up on Brandon Aiyuk," Schrager said. "His career has been fine so far.

"This year, he takes the leap."

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