In a draft-day trade, the Vikings get picks No. 31, 117, and 176, and the 49ers moved up to No. 25. The 49ers had to be moving up for a wide receiver, right? Right. Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk was the pick. I felt like this would be the guy as John Lynch is buddies with Herm Edwards, the Sun Devils head coach.
Aiyuk has a wingspan that is one inch bigger than Calvin Johnson. He underwent surgery that kept him out of the Senior Bowl, but is expected to be fully recovered by the time training camp starts. I had Aiyuk as the fourth-best “flanker” in the draft, and the other three wideouts ahead of him were taken.
Aiyuk may have been the most difficult prospect in the past few seasons for me. He’s oozing with athleticism and talent. The issue is the former Sun Devil needs to be consistent when the ball is in the air. He struggled at adjusting to throws and using his body to get open. There were plays here and there, but not enough to say Aiyuk is on the same level as some of the top receivers. Aiyuk plays much faster than his 4.5 40-yard dash, and it shows up as he’s eating up the cornerbacks’ cushion off the line of scrimmage and when the ball is in his hands. He’s also better at the top of his routes than given credit for.
I also had him higher than Justin Jefferson, who went earlier than Aiyuk at No. 22 to Minnesota.
He’ll need to become more refined, but Aiyuk’s ability after the catch and down the field is better suited in today’s NFL than Jefferson.
Niners 2020 draft picks:
Round 1, (pick 14): DT Javon Kinlaw from South Carolina
Round 1, (pick 25): WR Brandon Aiyuk from Arizona State
Round 5, (pick 156):
Round 6, (pick 210):
Round 7, (pick 217):
2020 NFL draft schedule:
ABC, ESPN and NFL Network will televise the draft.
Thursday, April 23
5 p.m. PT (Round 1 – 10 minutes per pick)
Friday, April 24
4-9 p.m. PT (Round 2 – seven minutes per pick; Round 3 – five minutes per pick)
Saturday, April 25
9 am PT (Rounds 4 and 5 – five minutes per pick; Round 7 – four minutes per pick)