Rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk will have a chance to see the receiver he attempts to emulate up close and personal when the San Francisco 49ers host the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.
"Davante Adams, when I was coming out of college, he was one of the main receivers that I watched," Aiyuk said Tuesday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "All the games from last season and what he does, and what he's able to do at the line of scrimmage and with his route running.
"He's actually my pro comparison, so I love watching Davante Adams. I try to take stuff out of his bag and put it in mine."
Aiyuk picked a great receiver to imitate. Since early-career ankle issues stymied his progress, Adams has been among the best wideouts in the NFL, a three-time Pro Bowler, and a matchup nightmare as Aaron Rodgers' go-to target.
Once Adams got over those ankle issues in his second season, he has been the premier receiver at torching receivers off the line of scrimmage. Adams' flawless technique allows him clean breaks off the line and creates space from even the most physical defensive backs.
If Aiyuk can come close to matching one of the league's top route runners, the 49ers will have their own go-to player.
"I've been very proud of Brandon these past few weeks," coach Kyle Shanahan said. "Just like we did to Deebo (Samuel) his rookie year, we're putting a little bit more pressure on him earlier than I would like to. You don't like to put all that on a guy coming in, especially a guy who missed most of training camp and didn't have an offseason."
After missing Week 1 due to a hamstring injury, Aiyuk has progressively become more involved in the 49ers offense and is coming off back-to-back big games. In Week 7, the first-round rookie went off for six catches for 115 yards. Last week, he put up 91 yards on eight catches with a TD.
"He is electric," Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of the 49ers' rookie. "He has that suddenness and just athletic ability that a guy like Davante has. He looks like a pretty darn good player."
Given the Niners' injury issues, with star tight end George Kittle set to miss a chunk of time, Shanahan's passing attack will need Aiyuk to continue to play a big role.
He might not be Davante Adams yet, but the rookie is studying the right player if he wants to reach that level down the road.
The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers will kick off Thursday from Levi's Stadium at 8:20 p.m. ET, airing on NFL Network and FOX and streaming exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.