NFL free agency is fast approaching, and the Dallas Cowboys have many different options to make regarding some of the elite players on its roster. Dak Prescott will likely receive the exclusive franchise tag, and it appears that the front office has made the decision to do what it takes to bring Amari Cooper back. Byron Jones looks to be leaving town, and it remains to be seen what happens with Robert Quinn after his impressive 2019 campaign.
While there will certainly be holes to fill — namely in the secondary — Mike McCarthy does not believe on passing talented players for fit or for need. Therefore, every position is seemingly on the table when the draft comes around.
That brings us to the wide receiver spot. It seems as if Amari Cooper will more than likely be back with the Cowboys, and McCarthy hopes to have Randall Cobb in silver and blue as well. Still, even with the emergence of Michael Gallup, you can never have too many weapons for your franchise quarterback to throw to.
Brandon Aiyuk is one of the more talented wideouts in this draft class. The Arizona State product has not been mentioned in the same breath as the draft’s top tier — Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III — but his athletic profile gives him one of the higher ceilings at the position in the class.
The former three-star JUCO recruit that had just one other power-5 offer coming out of Sierra College was able to show the world and, more importantly, scouts and decision-makers his athletic ability at the NFL Combine. Aiyuk turned heads with his speed, leaping ability, and lengthy arms.
- 4.50 40-yard dash
- 40-inch vertical jump (92nd-percentile, according to mockdraftable)
- 128-inch broad jump (88th-percentile)
- 33 and half-inch arms (89th-percentile)
- 80-inch wingspan, which is just two-inches shorter than the 6-foot-5 Collin Johnson.
.@ASUFootball WR Brandon Aiyuk with a 40" vertical! @THE2ERA— NFL (@NFL) February 27, 2020
: #NFLCombine on @NFLNetwork pic.twitter.com/rDntR5sekW
Aiyuk is more than just a combine warrior, though. The northern California native backed up his athleticism with his play on the field. N’Keal Harry, a first-round receiver by the New England Patriots in last year’s draft, was the top target for the Sun Devils during the 2018 season, where Aiyuk caught 33 balls for 474 yards and three touchdowns.
Aiyuk really emerged during the 2019 season. With Harry off to the NFL, the Sun Devils had a new top target for true freshman star signal caller Jayden Daniels to throw the ball to. The potential first-round draft pick grabbed 65 passes for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns. He showed off his big play ability with his 18.3 yards per catch as he wreaked havoc against Pac-12 defenses.
Brandon Aiyuk is the most underrated receiver in this class. NFL teams love speed and Aiyuk has a whole lot of it— Speak Up (@speakupka) February 24, 2020
▪️High-end straight line speed
▪️Excellent route runner
▪️Playmaker with the ball in his hands
▪️Threat in the return game pic.twitter.com/gU1PGYnhvw
Aiyuk’s 40-yard dash was clocked in at 4.50, but his game speed looks even faster than that. The former Arizona State star showed the ability to break a play open and find the end zone from anywhere on the field time-and-time again.
Receivers that have the frame, the athletic profile, and the open-field speed that Aiyuk possesses are very hard to come by. He was consistently able to take a slant route 80-yards to the house, out-running defensive backs along the way.
As a former RB, Aiyuk turns into that following the catch. He feels as if he can put the ball in the paint no matter where he’s located on the field. pic.twitter.com/m6cwpPlrFC— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 24, 2020
The Arizona State wideout said at the combine that he models his game after Odell Beckham Jr., and that he believes that he has some similarities to Deebo Samuel and Tyreek Hill, both of which starred in this year’s thrilling Super Bowl.
One can argue that wide receiver is down the list of needs for this team, presuming that both Cooper and Cobb are back in town, but this draft class has some potential stars at the wideout position. Aiyuk is a high upside player that possesses the athleticism and game-breaking ability to be a weapon on the next level.