Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk was slated to make an appearance at the Senior Bowl, but due to a core-muscle injury, Aiyuk sat out of the all-star game as well as the practices leading up to the game. On Tuesday, Aiyuk underwent core-muscle surgery performed by noted surgeon William Meyers, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. Aiyuk had been dealing with the core issue in the last few months and decided to get surgery now with no OTAs in sight.
Since this isn’t new news, Aiyuk shouldn’t fall in the draft. The internet says he’d miss 3-12 weeks after surgery. An actual doctor told me Aiyuk would be back for training camp and no sooner. With the limitations teams have that were put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, any injury could scare a team away from the former Sun Devil. The 6’0”, 205-pound receiver ran a 4.50 40-yard dash. That’s was battling a core a groin injury. Some feel that Ayiuk played faster and would have run a better time at the combine had he been fully healthy.
Aiyuk has to be on the San Francisco 49ers radar for a few reasons. For starters, the player he’s most compared to is this guy named Deebo Samuel. Ayiyuk had a 40” vertical, which tells you you’re dealing with an explosive player. Samuel measured at 5’11” 214 pounds and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash with a 39” vertical. Both players play much faster than they timed and are monsters with the ball in their hands. Samuel is more physical, better at the line of scrimmage, and a tier above Aiyuk.
That’s no knock on the former Arizona State receiver. Deebo is just really, really good. Aiyuk has games where he looks like a first-round player. Watch him against Colorado, and you’d think Aiyuk is worth the selection at 13 overall. Then there are games where he disappears, and you see Aiyuk struggle to shake free from tight coverage. He’s easily the most polarizing receiver prospect for me.
In our mock draft roundup from Tuesday, Aiyuk was going as early as the late 20s in some mocks and falling to the end of the second round in others. With a lot of these players, it’s all about the fit. In San Francisco, Aiyuk would be a better fit than a lot of receivers that are mocked to the Niners. The 49ers were in on N’Keal Harry last year, who also attended ASU. John Lynch’s good buddy Herm Edwards is the head coach, so Aiyuk—who is expected to go in the same range as Harry—will likely be on the 49ers radar.