49ers WR Deebo Samuel suffered a Jones Fracture in his foot during a throwing session with teammates on Tuesday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Samuel is undergoing surgery on Thursday and is expected to be sidelined for 12-16 weeks, per Rapoport. That timeline would have Samuel out until sometime between early September and early October. And Jones Fractures are tricky. We often see the injury aggravated or cause compensatory issues. Samuel just sunk down our WR rankings. His injury creates even more opportunity for 1st-round rookie WR Brandon Aiyuk.
The 49ers traded up to select Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk with the 25th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Aiyuk is coming off a big 2019 campaign: 65 catches for 1,192 yards and 8 TDs. He ranked 15th in the country in receiving yards and 13th among players with 40+ grabs with 18.3 yards per catch. Aiyuk’s 3.04 yards per route run was good for 7th among 30 of this year’s top WR prospects. The concern is that 2019 qualified as his breakout season — and it came as a 21-year-old senior. Aiyuk spent his first 2 college seasons in JUCO and caught just 33 balls playing behind N’Keal Harry in 2018. Aiyuk did help his cause by earning an 89th percentile SPARQ score at 6’0, 205 pounds at the Combine. Quickness, burst and speed shows up on tape — especially after the catch, where Aiyuk averaged 10.9 yards last year. “He has ranginess to him, yet he’s compact enough where his change of direction is great,” an anonymous scout told The Athletic’s Bob McGinn. “He’s really explosive on tape.” With Deebo Samuel the only locked-in WR in San Francisco, Aiyuk will have every opportunity to capture a big rookie-year role.