Brandon Aiyuk has all the makings to be a top-flight wide receiver in the NFL. Pro Football Focus named Aiyuk as one of the top three players the 49ers should be building around saying, "Aiyuk is one of the best separators in the NFL and has impressive body control at the catch point to boot, charted as “open” or “wide open” on 55.8% of receiving snaps in 2022, a top-five mark among wide receivers. Deebo Samuel already received his top-of-market extension, as did tight end George Kittle, but San Francisco may have no choice but to pay all three starting in 2024."
Aiyuk's expertise lies in separation, making his high rating even more convincing for those who may not have been fully convinced of his abilities before.
Alex Caruso, a fantasy football analyst at ESPN, conducted an extensive analysis of every WR1 since 2000, aiming to identify common traits among these wide receivers. He meticulously studied factors such as height, weight, draft capital, and NFL tenure.
Caruso's findings revealed that 44 percent of the top 12 wide receivers were first-round draft picks. This outcome shouldn't be surprising since higher draft picks typically receive more opportunities and a longer period to showcase their talents, even if they don't immediately deliver exceptional results.
The majority of wide receivers reach their peak during Year 4-6, per Caruso:
- 28% of Top 12 WRs are in the first 3 years of their career
- 37% of Top 12 WRs are in Years 4-6 of their career
- 25% of Top 12 WRs are in Years 7-9 of their career
Height and weight may catch the common fan off-guard. When you think of the top wide receivers, or any position, outliers will be the first thing that comes to mind. So, in the case of receivers, weight matters more than height, but being between 6’ and 6’2” is the sweet spot for success, according to Caruso.
Aiyuk stands 6’ tall and weighed in at 200 pounds on the dot and while determining what makes a “top 12 WR” is subjective, Aiyuk is checking all the boxes and putting up numbers that would reaffirm this notion. Based on all of the good things coming out of the niners camps, it sounds like Aiyuk is ready to live up to these expectations and really show out in 2023.