Skip to main content

ASU Football: Best Case Player Comparisons for Aiyuk and Harry

Former Arizona State Devil player comps

N’keal Harry and Brandon Aiyuk are still babies in their respective NFL careers.

Harry is coming off an injury-riddled rookie season, playing in only seven regular-season games. While Aiyuk is entering his first season in the pros with the run-heavy San Francisco 49ers.

Both players were highlight reels at Arizona State. One of the many reasons they were both taken in the first round of the NFL draft.

But being selected in the first round comes with certain expectations, a certain pedigree you have to live up to. So here are the best-case player comparisons for Aiyuk and Harry.

Brandon Aiyuk Best-Case: Chris Godwin

This past season saw Chris Godwin finish third in receiving yards (1,333) and second among highest-graded wide receivers according to Pro Football Focus.

I’m not saying Aiyuk is going to replicate that in his rookie season, because it took Godwin two years to get to that point. But in an offense with not a lot of dominant pass-catching options, outside of tight end George Kittle, Aiyuk can work his way into being that superstar that Godwin currently is.

Both Godwin and Aiyuk were big-time deep threats in college. If you combine each of their final two seasons in school, they both averaged about 16 yards per reception.

And they weren’t guys who caught balls deep down the field and stopped running. They are both excellent in yards after the catch. This past season saw Aiyuk finish second in the FBS in yards after the catch, while Godwin finished first among NFL wide receivers in 2019.

You wouldn’t know these two guys are speedsters by looking at their combine 40-yard dash times. It’s all acceleration and making a man miss in space with these two. They are like point-guards beating opponents to the rim with a nasty first step.

Aiyuk has a clear path to being a productive NFL wide receiver immediately, with all the injuries to the 49ers wide receiver depth. He may not be Godwin right away, but he could at least put up numbers close to what Calvin Ridley did in his rookie season.

N’keal Harry Best-Case: Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant and N’keal Harry are two big body receivers who are not afraid to get physical.

Both are 6-foot-2 or taller, weighing at least 220 pounds, and have nearly identical 40-yard dash times (4.53 for Harry and 4.52 for Bryant). Harry is basically a slightly bigger Dez Bryant with just as much, if not more heart, but without the outside noise.

Just like Harry, peak Dez Bryant wasn’t great at separating from defenders, but he made up for it with his brute strength. And there might not be a stronger wide receiver playing today than N’keal Harry, who was tied for the lead with 27 bench reps at the 2018 combine.

With the physical tools that Harry possesses, there is no reason he shouldn’t be a red zone monster like Bryant, who had 41 combined touchdowns from 2012 - 2014.

And with Cam Newton at quarterback, the potential for Harry to have a breakout season has increased. Throughout Newton’s time in Carolina, he has always favored bigger body pass catchers from the likes of Greg Olsen (6’5”), Kelvin Benjamin (6’5”), and even Devin Funchess (6’4”).

Recently, the New England Patriots cut projected wide receiver No. 3 Mohammed Sanu. This will add even more targets to Harry’s plate. And with Julian Edelman entering his mid 30’s, we could be seeing a changing of guard in New England very soon.

Until Harry reaches his peak, his floor should at least be Kelvin Benjamin, his rookie season in Carolina.