PRO 2020 Rookie Spotlight: Brandon Aiyuk, WR Arizona State

Rookie Spotlight: Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
Height: 5’ 11 3/4″
Weight: 201 lbs
Hands: 10”
Arm: 33 1/8”
40 yard dash: 4.45 (projected)
NFL Comparison: Terry McLaurin, Stefon Diggs, Josh Huff

Pros
– enormous catch radius (81” wingspan)
– elite YAC and open-field vision
– solid route runner
– tracks the ball well
– adept kick returner
– big, strong hands

Cons
– difficulty against the press
– trouble with contested catches on occasion
– sometimes lets the ball into his body
– one-year wonder
– late breakout age

2019 Team Market Share Numbers

28% team receptions
37% team receiving yards
38% team receiving TDs

Scouting Notes: Brandon Aiyuk didn’t really pop off until 2019, that will happen when you’re playing second fiddle to N’Keal Harry, but it his senior season at Arizona State was impressive in most categories – 65 rec, 1192 yards (top 10 in the country), 8 TDs, in addition to averaging 31.9 yards on 14 kick returns. Aiyuk treats every pass like a return, a chance to outmaneuver his defender with his sharp cuts and smooth gliding strides before turning on the burners and darting upfield. He’s explosive and fast, and he’s adept at finding the perfect angle to get past the defense, so if he sees daylight that’s usually all he needs to get into the end zone. Aiyuk isn’t particularly tall or powerful, but he’s got a massive wingspan (81”) and huge 10” hands to bring the ball in over his defenders. Just to put this in context, Chase Claypool had the next largest wingspan (80”) for a WR at the Senior Bowl, and he’s almost 5 inches taller than Aiyuk. The wide catch radius is especially useful in Aiyuk’s case, as he’s not the most physical WR. He can get mucked up on contested catches at times, and he doesn’t excel at beating the press. If the window is right though, he’s more than likely to bring the ball in – even if it is against his body more than I’d like to see. One might think Aiyuk would be utilized primarily as a deep threat on the outside, but he’s shown the ability to play slot well – his returner’s vision and creativity after the catch are often on display here too.

Fantasy Outlook: Aiyuk started his college career in JUCO and worked his way to a major program in the NCAA, so I don’t doubt he’ll be able to make the transition to the NFL. He is dealing with an undisclosed “minor” injury right now that kept him out of Arizona State’s bowl game and the Senior Bowl but the physical at the Senior Bowl is notoriously nitpicky. The fact is, he’s got enough juice to be a second day pick in the draft. I think he can excel wherever you put him on the field, and his kick return ability will get him in the game sooner than later. The question for Aiyuk, the same one for many of the WRs in this draft, is whether he’ll be able to get open against the NFL’s bigger physical corners on a regular basis. His speed, agility, and insane catch radius have me leaning towards the affirmative. On a WR needy team, like the Raiders, Aiyuk could be the the do everything guy that goes huge in fantasy.

From the Arizona State Athletic Department

TEMPE – Brandon Aiyuk earned the first All-America honor of his career Monday, tabbed by the Associated Press as a third-team All-American as an all-purpose player. Additionally, Jayden Daniels was named a freshman All-American by ESPN on Monday as well.

Aiyuk adds to a growing trophy case that included being named a First Team All-Pac-12 selection at wide receiver and as a return specialist. His selection marked the 104th time a Sun Devil has been named an AP All-American. He is the 117th individual Sun Devil to earn at least one All-America honor out of a combined 201 total All-America accolades in program history.

Aiyuk has announced his decision to forgo the upcoming Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl in El Paso in preparation the coming NFL Draft. He and teammate Eno Benjamin, who will forgo his senior season to enter the NFL Draft, are both scheduled to compete in the 2020 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 25.

– Recorded 1,192 receiving yards this season, the fifth-most in ASU single season history and he is within 18 of fourth and 56 of third.

– Second in the FBS in yards after the catch with 710 while his 10.9 yards after the catch per reception are the 12th-most nationally. He was first in the Pac-12 with 3.04 yards per route run on the season.

– Currently 8th nationally and 2nd in the Pac-12 with 1,192 receiving yards on the year while his 99.3 receiving yards per game are also 13th in the FBS and second in the league.

– Six of his eight touchdown receptions in 2019 have been for more than 30 yards (77 yards vs. Kent State, 53 yards vs. Colorado, 40 yards vs. WSU, 86 yards vs. WSU, 33 yards vs. WSU, 81 vs. ORE).

– One of just three receivers with two 80+ yard receiving touchdowns this year (Arkansas State’s Omar Baylesss and Louisville’s Chatarius Atwell). His six catches over 50 yards are second in nation while his nine 40+ yard catches are third and three 70+ grabs are second. His 12 catches over 30 yards are good for sixth.

– His 196 total receiving yards in the Washington State contest with the 11th-most in Sun Devil history.

– When quarterbacks targeted him, they recorded a 133.9 NFL QB Rating this season, which was good for 10th in the country.

– Currently 6th nationally and first in the Pac-12 in all-purpose yards at 155.83 per game – the most for any wide receiver in the country.

– Went over 2,000 all-purpose yards (2,725) in his career at ASU despite being in Tempe for less than two full seasons. Should he reach the 3,000 all-purpose yard milestone, he would join Marion Grice as the only two-year players in ASU history to accomplish the feat.

– Racked up 1,870 all-purpose yards this season (sixth nationally) on just 94 total plays (19.9 yards per touch, which is fourth nationally). The five players ahead of Aiyuk are all running backs and each has at least 245 total touches this season.

– Among the Top-15 players nationally in total yards, no other player is within 8 yards per touch of Aiyuk’s 19.9 tally (Maryland’s Javon Leake at 11.3, all others below 10.0).

– The only player in the country to record at least 200 yards on both punt (226) and kick (446) returns. His 226 punt return yards are 11th in the country.

– At 1,870 all-purpose yards this season, he is fourth in ASU history and within 195 yards of Wilford White’s long-standing school record of 2,065 set back in 1950.

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