Rookie Rundown: WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

Rookie Rundown: WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

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Rookie Rundown: WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

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Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Aiyuk spent his first two years at the public community school of Sierra College in Rocklin, California. He was a Junior College All-American as a sophomore and transferred to Arizona State in 2018. Aiyuk played some defenses and special teams in both high school and junior college and opted for Arizona State over Alabama, Kansas, and Tennessee because they wanted him to be a wideout, not shifted to defense or be stuck on special teams.

Aiyuk caught 33 passes for 474 yards in his first season at ASU and also rolled 381 return yards while playing as the No. 2 to N’Keal Harry. As a senior, Aiyuk assumed the No. 1 role and more than doubled the catches of any other Sun Devil wide receiver when he ended with 65 receptions for 1,192 yards and a hefty 18.3 yards-per-catch.

He also returned 14 kicks for a 31.9-yard average. He offers not only value as a receiver but also as a returner which can keep him involved from the start as a rookie.

Height: 6-0
Weight: 205 pounds
40 time: 4.5 seconds

Aiyuk was reported to have undergone core-muscle surgery on April 8. It is not expected to be an ongoing issue and the delay in OTA’s and team activities because of the COVID-19 virus allows him time to heal.

Year College Games Catch Yards Avg. TD
2018 Sierra College 11 29 573 19.8 5
2017 Sierra College 11 60 960 16.0 14
2018 Arizona State 13 33 474 14.4 3
2019 Arizona State 12 65 1192 18.3 8

Pros

  • Runs crisp and exacting routes
  • Strong yards after the catch skills
  • Can set up corners to fail
  • Great hands that pluck the ball from the air
  • Second gear that allows him to break free
  • Finesse player that is dangerous in the open
  •  Strong return skills
  • Can handle complete route tree

Cons

  • May struggle against press coverage in the NFL
  • Needs to be more physical to avoid getting bumped from route
  •  Less adept with contested catches
  • Less successful on come back and over-the-middle routes

Fantasy outlook

Aiyuk projects as an “X” outside receiver that can use his speed and open-field ability to hurt a defense. He only had one season as a primary receiver in a top-level program but shined when given the chance. He’s proven to be a fast learner and always improves his skill level and importance to his team.

He needs to learn how to be more physical and beat the improved coverage in the NFL if he ever intends to be a No. 1 receiver but he’s already a very attractive addition as a speedy deep threat and complement to another wideout that draws more of the coverage.

Work as a returner is very likely at least early in his career. Aiyuk could show up even as a rookie in the right spot and he’s been a game-breaker once he has the ball in his hands. He could still use more development to meet his potential, but everything in his past says that he’ll take advantage of whatever opportunity he is given.

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