Brandon Aiyuk Player Profile
Height: 5-11 5/8
Hand: 9 6/8
Arm: 33 4/8
Have you ever wondered what the theme song of your life would sound like? For my next player profile candidate, Brandon Aiyuk, it would sound a little something like: “slippery, ‘scuse me, please me, I’m up, believe me, believe me”. After posting career totals of 98/1666/11 at Arizona State University and grabbing the attention of scouts at the combine, Aiyuk has skyrocketed up draft boards. Along with phenomenal talent, Aiyuk is radiating with confidence by letting the scouts know that he should be up there with the likes of Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Jalen Reagor. But why? Let’s dive into what the Migos tried to warn us of back in 2017!
Pros: Having a dynamic athlete that can get yards after the catch, or YAC, is essential to any NFL offense. For example, two 2019 rookies, Deebo Samuel and AJ Brown, made a living off the YAC stat as they both cracked the top-15! Aiyuk thrives in knowing HOW and WHEN to kick it into second gear after the catch, patience is a trait that you can't coach. With the ball in his hands, Aiyuk will then use natural foot movements and last second misdirection's to leave defenders guessing. That twitchy, change of direction ability is going to be a problem for many slow defensive backs this fall...I'm looking at you Josh Norman. My favorite thing about Aiyuk is his undeniable confidence to get up and grab any ball despite not being the biggest receiver. Aiyuk has been on record to state that he is aware “people have questions about me getting a jump ball, but with my vertical and that wingspan, I feel like I’m no different than anyone who is 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4”. That confidence has created a player with true deep ball ability that defenders should fear. Many times on film I’ve seen Aiyuk track and adjust to the football, which leads to touchdowns on his favorite route, the vertical. If drafted by the right team, Aiyuk is truly going to be a game changer on both offense and special teams.
Cons: Now the most glaring knock against Aiyuk will be that he only has one season of meaningful production. I do understand that he transferred from Sierra College, a JUCO in California, and put up over 1,500 yards and nearly 20 touchdowns in two seasons, but realistically the competition there falls short in comparison to the ability he’ll face at the next level. The reason why I bring this up first is because even with four years of experience playing football at the collegiate level, Aiyuk’s route tree is abysmal. What I mean is that if Aiyuk can’t beat you off the line of scrimmage with his speed then he’ll sometimes shut down. To fix this, Aiyuk will need to work on getting more physical because in the NFL you can't always be wide open by two steps. When asked to work back towards the line of scrimmage, such as a curl route, Aiyuk will often get beat and either have the pass intercepted or broken up. Teams will soon learn that if you give him space or play off, he’ll beat you, but if you just employ a little press coverage then it’s game over. Aiyuk has plenty of room for growth playing receiver, but just know what you’re drafting him for.
Comparison/Expectations: Several immediate names come to mind with Aiyuk that several have already claimed, but there’s one player in particular I don’t think many are seeing. Personally, I believe Aiyuk is just a faster version of Cole Beasley because of how they both play with such a chip on their shoulder. These types of players know how they fit in the offense, but will often times rise above expectations and leave us saying WOW! (yes I’m referring to THAT one handed/shoulder catch on the sideline versus the Giants). Because of his athletic ability, because of his return skills, and because of how much that “game breaker” speed is valued in the NFL, you will most definitely see Aiyuk’s name called on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft. There are four specific teams that I’m looking at as possible candidates; Los Angeles Chargers to replace Travis Benjamin, Chicago Bears to replace Taylor Gabriel, San Francisco 49ers to replace Sanders (and the potential trade/cut of Dante Pettis), and last but not least the Philadelphia Eagles to help stretch the field after the departure of Nelson Agholor/inconsistent health of DeSean Jackson.