Brandon Aiyuk, one of the top-rated receivers in the 2020 NFL draft, underwent core muscle surgery, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo. The former Arizona State receiver had been dealing with a groin injury that kept him out of January’s Senior Bowl. He was able to participate in February’s NFL combine.
Aiyuk, who is currently CBS Sports’ seventh best receiver and 38th best player in this year’s draft, enjoyed a breakout season for the Sun Devils in 2019, catching 65 passes for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging a whopping 18.3 yards per catch. CBS Sports has also tabbed Aiyuk as the 42nd ranked player in this year’s draft.
During the week of the Senior Bowl, event executive director Jim Nagy said that everyone he had talked to had been grading the 6-foot-1, 206-pound Aiyuk “similarity to or higher than N’Keal Harry,” a fellow former Arizona State standout who was drafted in the first round by the Patriots last spring.
Aiyuk, during an interview with The Denver Post leading up to February’s NFL combine, said that he hoped to be in the “low 4.4” range in the 40-yard dash during the combine. He was also looking to show that he can line up anywhere within an offense after primarily lining up on the left side of Arizona State’s offense. During the combine, Aiyuk ran the 40 in 4.5 seconds. He also posted 11 reps in the bench press while posting a 40-inch vertical jump and a 128-inch broad jump.
One thing Aiyuk doesn’t need to prove is his consistency, as he caught at least five passes in eight different games during the 2019 season. He was especially good during his final six games, catching 33 passes for 534 yards and three touchdowns during that span. That stretch of games does not include his seven-catch, 196-yard, three touchdown performance in the Sun Devils’ win over Washington State on Oct. 12.
Aiyuk, who received a Division 1 scholarship to play defensive back coming out of high school, also discussed what it was like to play for a Sun Devils coaching staff that included two former NFL head coaches in Herm Edwards and Marvin Lewis.
“A lot of advice,” said Aiyuk, who starred at Sierra College before coming to Arizona State in 2018. “Every single practice, they would let us know and it would be the whole coaching staff yelling, ‘Do something like that next year, you’ll no longer have a job.'”
Aiyuk, who will receive a slew of interest from NFL teams in need of a receiver during the combine. Among the teams interested in Aiyuk will likely include the Broncos, Packers, Giants, 49ers and Steelers, who may each decide to select a receiver with their first or second pick.