It’s draft time, and that means a look at some key players on the Jets radar. Since wide receiver is a key need, Brandon Aiyuk should be on the top of everyone’s mind.
Brandon Aiyuk is an interesting draft prospect for the New York Jets in 2020. When the season ended, most of the talk centered around Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb. Aiyuk has gotten some attention from fans, but some fans still want a “number one wide receiver.”
Aiyuk doesn’t seem to fit the prototypical WR1 mold, but he presents a lot of problems for opposing defenses. However, he does have his flaws. Let’s take a look at his entire body of work.
Aiyuk brings two major traits to the table: speed and quickness. He can use quickness to create separation underneath. His speed is a weapon in both the short game and the deep passing game. Once he blows by people he can gain yards after the catch, and he can easily beat defenders deep.
Special teams is an important element in football, and Aiyuk can give the Jets a weapon in the return game as well.
His one major weakness is route running. It’s not that he has as limited a route tree as a player like Robby Anderson did when he came out of Temple. His route tree is limited to short and deep passes. He’s below average in the intermediate range, but his ability to turn short passes into long gains largely makes up for that.
Since he’s not the total package as a wide receiver, he’s likely a late first to mid-second round selection. If he falls to the Jets in the second round, they should pick him up immediately.
The NFL game is shifting to more of a speed game at the wide receiver position. They have Jamison Crowder in the slot who is their most versatile receiver in terms of route combinations and yards after catch.
Adding a player like Aiyuk — even if the Jets are able to re-sign Robby Anderson — gives them an additional speed threat both deep and short. If they can find a way to re-sign Anderson, having all three at his disposal would be great. Add in the returning Christopher Herndon and you have a dangerous starting quartet of receiving options for Adam Gase to work with. When you add Le’Veon Bell to that mix, this Jets offense — if they fix the offensive line — could be one to be reckoned with in 2020.