PROS: Whether it’s creating after the catch, stretching the defense vertically or in the return game, Aiyuk is a big play threat. Super twitchy and dynamic with the ball in his hands. Slippery for tacklers. Loose in his lowers to sink his hips and snap through hard horizontal breaks. Willing to run up on the toes of the corner when running routes. Finishes touches like a running back with physicality and battling for every inch. Has an impressive second gear that shows up when bursting to the football on 9 routes. Tracks and adjusts while carrying speed to and through the football on deep shots. Showcases good body control. Showcases good all-around competitive toughness which often shows up when blocking. He keeps working down the field and battles to hit blocks so his teammates can maximize their touches. 31.9 kick return average and 16.1 yards per punt return in 2019.
CONS: Struggles to clear press coverage and he can get stuck on the top of routes when challenged with physicality. Has to develop more hand technique at the line of scrimmage and route technique throughout his stem to not invite so much contact when he’s trying to be deceptive and sell breaks. Not a natural hands catcher and the ball gets on top of him quickly. Often works to guide the football into his frame. Struggles in contested situations and he just doesn’t extend throwing windows very effectively. Often too willing to wait on the football when he needs to “go get it”. Only one season of meaningful production.
BEST TRAIT - Yards After Catch
WORST TRAIT - Contested Catches, Clearing Press Coverage
RED FLAGS - None
NFL COMP - Cordarelle Patterson
Brandon Aiyuk had plenty of opportunity coming out of the JUCO ranks but he settled on Arizona State due in large to the Sun Devils desire to keep him at wide receiver and not mentor a switch to playing defensive back. While there’s plenty to like about his big play ability and athletic profile, it’s completely understandable as to why many schools thought the switch was a good idea. Aiyuk has plenty of room for growth playing receiver. His route technique and hands reveal plenty of inconsistency. With that said, for a team looking for a game-breaker in terms of post-catch production, a vertical presence or a dynamic return guy then Aiyuk brings and exciting skill set to the table. Aiyuk does have some “niche” tendencies, but the areas he does excel in represents strong value to a franchise. He doesn’t come without restrictions but Aiyuk’s big play ability makes them easier to live with. Aiyuk can contribute right away from the slot with manufactured touches and vertical shots while serving as the primary return guy while he looks to become a more complete wide receiver.