Packers draft profile: Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk
After a 13-3 regular season and a trip to the NFC championship game, the Green Bay Packers still have a few holes to fill on their roster if they want to improve in 2020.
Green Bay is set to pick at No. 30 in the 2020 NFL draft, so it will have to wait a bit before making its first selection.
In this “Packers draft profile” series, we will look at several options for Packers in the first round and dissect their collegiate careers, highlight reels and how they would fit with the team.
First up: Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
Aiyuk took a different path to stardom than most highly touted prospects. The Reno, Nev., native played two years in junior college at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif. In his two seasons at Sierra College, Aiyuk totaled 2,499 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns, and was named a first team California Community College Football Coaches Association All-American as an all-purpose player.
Aiyuk quickly gained a role on the ASU offense. In his first season with the program in 2018, Aiyuk had 33 catches for 474 yards and three touchdowns. He improved significantly in 2019, recording 65 catches for 1,192 yards and six scores. Aiyuk was also a valuable return man for the Sun Devils, with 14 kickoff returns for 446 yards (31.9 average) and 14 punt returns for 226 yards (16.1 average) and a touchdown.
40-yard dash: 4.5 seconds
Vertical jump: 40 inches
Broad jump: 128.0 inches
Bench press: 11 reps
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“NFL teams are always on the lookout for playmakers for the passing-game offense, and Aiyuk has the potential to be a serious aerial weapon. He is a dangerous run-after-the-catch receiver with a thick build. Aiyuk really comes alive after catching the ball and is able to dangerously rip off yards in chunks thanks to some serious athletic ability. The skill to make things happen when he has the ball in his hands can also be seen from his production as a punt returner.” – WalterFootball.com
“An explosive wide out with very good acceleration off the snap and once he gets the ball in his hands, Aiyuk brought an enticing dynamic of speed to Arizona State’s offense in 2019. He’s a shifty ball-carrier who can change direction easily and has plenty of spring in his step. He runs with good vision when he gets into the open field, presenting opportunities for him to exploit a defense for a big gain. Though not a finished product, Aiyuk has also shown some promise and growth as a route-runner. He stems his routes well and excels at attacking leverage points on the opposition, and he bursts out of his stems well. He has shown some potential in regards to his ability to sink his hips and make sharp cuts.”– Draft Wire (USA Today)
“Ascending receiving prospect who has shown continued improvement since coming from the JUCO ranks. Aiyuk has size, speed and is a natural pass-catcher who plays with good energy but he must improve physicality to handle contested catches. He can be slick and instinctive to separate out of stems and turns, but getting in and out of standard route breaks tends to limit his effectiveness. He needs more polish, but his ability to create yards after catch could get him some early reps while he’s still developing. He has the potential to develop into a WR3.” – NFL.com
HOW HE FITS
Aside from Davante Adams, the Packers do not have a lot of proven consistency in the wide receiver room. Sure, Devin Funchess is a solid big body receiver and Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have shown flashes, but Aiyuk’s proficiency after the catch and return ability could be just what Green Bay needs from a No. 2 receiver.