Looking for speed and yards after the catch at the wide receiver position? Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk is one of the best in the 2020 NFL Draft. How does Brandon Aiyuk fit with the Philadelphia Eagles? Let’s take a look.
Previous Eagles Draft Prospect Profiles
- CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
- Henry Ruggs III, WR, Bama
- Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
- Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
- Grant Delpit, S, LSU
- Trevon Diggs, CB ,Bama
- Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
- Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
- Patrick Queen, LB, LSU
- Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
- Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas
A Look at Brandon Aiyuk’s College Performance
Brandon Aiyuk being an underrated prospect started early during his college career. Brandon Aiyuk was a star wide receiver at Sierra College, where he played two seasons and averaged an impressive 16 yards per catch. In 2017, Brandon Aiyuk had 60 catches for 960 yards and 14 touchdowns. Aiyuk was also a weapon in the return game, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged a staggering 38.0 yards on 11 kickoff returns.
Blowing away expectations…
Despite those statistics, Aiyuk wasn’t even ranked as one the top 100 JUCO prospects in the country. The 6’1, 190 pound speedster officially moved on to Arizona State University in 2018 and quickly acclimated to the speed of Division 1. Brandon Aiyuk played all 13 games for the Sun Devils, finishing with 33 receptions for 474 yards and three touchdowns. During the Las Vegas Bowl his junior year, Aiyuk showed signs of things to come finishing with 9 catches in a loss vs Fresno State.
Brandon Aiyuk had a breakout season in 2019 and broke a handful of school records at ASU as a receiver and as a returner. His 65 receptions and 16.14 yards per punt return was 8th best in single season school history. Aiyuk’s 1,192 receiving yards was 5th best in a single season school history. His yards per catch jumped from 14.4 in 2018 to 18.3 during his senior season, 3rd best in the Pac-12.
According to Pro Football Focus, Aiyuk averaged 10.9 yards after the catch this past season. His 710 total yards after the catch were the 5th most in the country. Brandon Aiyuk saw the majority of his snaps playing on the outside (540 of 655 snaps). His 31.86 yards per kick return this season was #1 all-time among returners in school history. Brandon Aiyuk had four games of at least 7 catches and 5 games of at least 122 yards in a game.
A hip injury kept Brandon Aiyuk off the field during the senior bowl in January, but his recent measurements wowed the scouts. Despite being only 5’11 without shoes, Aiyuk recorded an impressive 81-inch wingspan. For comparison purposes, that is just one inch shorter than Calvin Johnson. Aiyuk’s combination of speed and length could potentially make him one of the biggest high risers in this year’s NFL Draft Combine.
Brandon Aiyuk’s Current Draft Projection
- 24th – CBS Sports
- 24th – NFL.com
- 30th – Sports Illustrated
- 30th – Pro Football Focus
- 31st – Bleacher Report
- Not Ranked – The Athletic
What does Brandon Aiyuk bring to the Philadelphia Eagles?
Brandon Aiyuk is one of the biggest home run hitters in this year’s draft. Aiyuk has the explosiveness and big play ability to get him selected in this year’s first round. Brandon Aiyuk’s elite ability to gain yards after the catch and stretch the field is something that should very much interest the Philadelphia Eagles. Even further, Aiyuk projects an elite special teamer which I’m 100% positive opens the eyes of Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman.
As stated several times during my player profiles for Henry Ruggs III, Jalen Reagor and Devin Duvernay, the Eagles must bring home at least two dynamic wide receivers out of this year’s draft. When watching tape of Brandon Aiyuk, he seems to have that same second gear that Jalen Reagor and Henry Ruggs III possess during their routes. Aiyuk also brings some versatility on offense as he can be lined up on the outside or even the slot position.
Some Areas Brandon Aiyuk Needs to Strengthen
Beating Press Coverage: The good news? This guy is pure speed. He’s difficult to catch once he hits the open field. The bad news? He’s widely ineffective once you get a hand on him. Improving versus tight man coverage will be the focus point for Brandon Aiyuk once he puts on that NFL jersey. I also have no doubt that Aiyuk is going to struggle creating separation off the line of scrimmage when dealing with physical corners in the NFL.
Experience: Brandon Aiyuk is raw wide receiver prospect with plenty of room for growth. It was only a few years ago when Brandon Aiyuk was playing defensive back at Sierra College. He’s got a lot of room to grow in his route running. He’s got to become more fluid in and out of his breaks. However, Brandon Aiyuk has shown real improvement every year he’s been asked.
My Expectations for 2020
Among projected first round wide receivers, Brandon Aiyuk seems to be the forgotten one. But make no mistake this prospect is no consolation prize. Howie Roseman wants to retool the roster with an injection of youth and the Eagles have a lot of holes to fill. Trading back a few spots in the first round, selecting Brandon Aiyuk and getting another pick in that 2nd or 3rd round is an extremely intriguing scenario for the Birds.
This would be a best of both worlds option for the Philadelphia Eagles. Aiyuk fills a major need on the outside and Howie Roseman receives more ammo to wheel and deal and move up in the second round of the draft. Personally, I go back and forth with this situation every day. Is it better to sit at 21 and take your guy? Or do you risk it, trade back and hope one of Jalen Reagor or Brandon Aiyuk falls in your lap? It’s a difficult call to make and I’m just glad that I’m not the one making it.
During his NFL Combine press conference, Howie Roseman certainly didn’t sound like a guy who is going to stand pat at 21 in the draft. What would you do Eagles fans? Trade a second or third round pick to get a guy like Henry Ruggs III, stay pat at 21 and select Jalen Reagor, or trade back, get some more picks and select Brandon Aiyuk?
It’s a hard decision to make but Brandon Aiyuk has consistently proven the doubters wrong since Sierra College. Does Brandon Aiyuk belong in the same conversation as Henry Ruggs III, CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy? I’ll let you decide this one. This is no doubt one of the higher upside picks in the draft and would look plenty fine as a deep threat next to Carson Wentz.