Santa Clara— The 49ers had an NFL-best nine Pro Bowl selections, but general manager John Lynch wants one more.
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was selected an alternate despite catching 72 passes on 101 targets for 1,317 yards and seven touchdowns. His 18.3 yards per reception leads the NFL, but his 15-game total ranks 6th. Lynch discussed Friday on KNBR 680's "Murph & Markus." why the wideout should have received the award.
“I think he deserves it.” Lynch stated. “His yards per catch. Sometime late in the season, someone told me all but two of his catches went for first downs. He leads the league in yards per reception, but his run-blocking dedication puts him over the top.”
On the pitch, Aiyuk has shown his physicality. The Arizona State graduate can catch a pass over the middle and block in the run game to clear pathways for his teammates. Lynch added, “To do all of the things he's doing in the pass game, the explosiveness, seven games with over 100 yards. Add to that his pledge to be the league's finest run-blocking receiver.
Lynch did not devalue the four other NFC receivers who won Pro-Bowls—CeeDee Lamb, A.J. Brown, Mike Evans, and Puka Nacua—but instead emphasized Aiyuk's huge impact on the club.
“Kyle talks about how it dictates the tempo and attitude of the team, as much as Trent Williams coming off the ball,” Lynch said. “When receivers buy in, it's contagious. BA sold out, and I'm so happy of this guy, who's a Pro Bowler and All-Pro, and I felt awful for him that he didn't make it.”
Aiyuk has the most fan votes of any NFC wide receiver, but it is not the sole qualification. The ultimate Pro Bowl roster is determined by player and coach votes.
“I will say our fans were unbelievable,” Lynch said. “They tried hard and supported our players in unbelievable ways. The Faithful astound me constantly. I felt sorry for BA, but I know. I know from experience that sometimes it's simply the way. BA has it in him to make it one year and then the next