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ESPN: ASU’s Brandon Aiyuk among NFL Draft’s best playmakers in space

Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk #2 of the Arizona State Sun Devils runs with the football after a 24 yard reception against the Kent State Golden Flashes during the first half of the NCAAF game at Sun Devil Stadium on August 29, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Sun Devils wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has garnered some attention nationally during the draft process.

The NFL Draft entrant had an explosive senior season in 2019, breaking out for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns in 12 games. He was recently pegged to go as high as 20th overall to Jacksonville in a mock draft from ESPN’s Todd McShay, and now McShay is showing more love to the ASU alum.

McShay picked this draft’s top playmakers in space, what he called the All-Satellite Team. Aiyuk was third on his list behind Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III and Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, two players regarded as some of the best pass-catchers in this class. Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor was fourth on McShay’s list before two honorable mentions.

Aiyuk getting a nod for his work in space makes sense, as those who saw him at ASU last year watched him rack up yards after the catch with his speed and elusiveness. McShay noted that Aiyuk’s average of 10.5 yards after the catch was among the top 10 in the nation for wideouts, and he added this comment:

The Arizona State wideout can make defenders miss and break tackles after the catch. The speed is there to challenge defenses vertically, and he certainly has plenty of explosion in his game — he posted a very good 40-inch vertical jump at the combine. Aiyuk had nine catches go for at least 40 yards in 2019, tied for fifth most in the FBS.

Along with Lamb and Ruggs, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy completes a trio of receivers who top the first-round projections at that position, but perhaps Aiyuk is the next one off the board. Pro Football Focus has him as a first- or second-round pick, advising that if “you need a big-play threat, Aiyuk is your man.”

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