2020 NFL Draft: 2nd Round, 39th Overall
The Detroit Lions select…
Name: Brandon Aiyuk
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Arizona State
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 205
2019 Stats: 12 games played, 65 receptions, 1192 yards, 8 touchdowns, 672 total return yards, 1 touchdown
Draft Round Projection: 1-2
Pick Analysis: Remember the dynamic, run-after-the-catch ability that receiver Golden Tate brought to the Lions’ receiving corps for several years in the last decade? Remember the noticeable void left when he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles midway through the 2018 season? In this scenario, Detroit lands a player with similar skills and even more potential.
In a class rich with gifted wideouts, Aiyuk stands out as a unique prospect. While he doesn’t have the route running polish or contested-catch prowess of some of the receivers that will be selected ahead of him, he makes up for it with a natural ability to make plays with the ball in his hand.
He has a sturdy, compact frame, complemented by unusually longs arms which provide him with an impressive catch radius. He tirelessly fights for first downs and boasts running back instincts once he turns upfield.
Aiyuk offers special teams value as well; he racked up 672 total return yards in 2019 along with a score. Joining a deep receiving corps, he may find offensive snaps hard to come by early on but could cut his teeth in the third phase while preparing for a bigger future role.
Wide receiver isn’t a pressing immediate need for the Lions, but veterans Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola are not signed beyond 2020. Detroit would be wise to ensure they have another offensive weapon in the unit for subsequent seasons and they don’t pass up the opportunity here.