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Potential Eagles draft target undergoes core muscle surgery

Might be good news for Philly?

NCAA Football: Oregon at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver prospect Brandon Aiyuk underwent core muscle surgery earlier today, according to a report from the NFL Network.

This news is obviously worth noting in this space since Aiyuk is a potential target for the Philadelphia Eagles in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft. [Enter joke about Aiyuk rising up the Eagles’ boards because he’s injured here.]

It’s possible this surgery has no significant impact on Aiyuk’s value. There’s been speculation that he could go in the first round, even as high to the Eagles at No. 21.

But perhaps the limitations put in place by the coronavirus pandemic will have teams concerned about Aiyuk’s status. It’s not like they’ll be able to bring him in to their facilities for medical testing like they’d normally be able to do.

And so it’d be ideal for the Eagles’ sake (and clearly less so for the player’s) if this development causes Aiyuk to slip in the draft. Could the ASU product fall to the Eagles’ second-round pick at No. 53?

I wouldn’t count on it. Former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah has Aiyuk as his No. 24 overall ranked prospect in this year’s draft. That’s just one person’s opinion but I’d wager there are current NFL personnel people who might not be so far off.

Aiyuk is one of my favorite players in the draft class. He has a solid, muscular frame and plays an aggressive brand of football. He is explosive in his release and he attacks the leverage of cornerbacks before suddenly snapping off his route. Aiyuk doesn’t run a wide variety of routes, but he’s very efficient and effective. He has strong hands and can finish in traffic. He is at his best after the catch, breaking tackles and making people miss without gearing down. Those skills serve him well as a returner, too. Overall, Aiyuk will need a little time to develop as a complete route runner, but he’s a tough, explosive playmaker with added special teams value.

Bleeding Green Nation’s Michael Kist has Aiyuk ranked eight in his wide receiver rankings. Ben Natan similarly has Aiyuk ranked ninth out of his top 10 wideouts. Maybe the depth of this year’s class — combined with Aiyuk’s medical situation — could cause him to fall further than expected after all.

The Eagles could certainly afford to add a player with Aiyuk’s explosive ability. He logged 65 receptions for 1,192 yards (18.3 average) and eight touchdowns as a senior last year. Aiyuk also averaged high marks on both kickoff (31.9) and punt returns (16.1).

I don’t know how realistic it is but something like the Eagles adding Justin Jefferson at No. 21 and then Aiyuk at No. 53 is a fun thought. Maybe we’ll see it happen.

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