According to CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso, the Indianapolis Colts will select Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (#34th pick) followed by Oklahoma defensive tackle Neville Gallimore with the (#44th pick) in his latest 2020 NFL Mock Draft:
Trapasso has a handful of top wide receiver prospects going much earlier than the Colts first pick at #34—including Baylor’s Denzel Mims (#18), LSU’s Justin Jefferson (#21), TCU’s Jalen Reagor (#22), and Colorado’s Laviska Shenault Jr. (#30).
However, the likes of Penn State’s K.J. Hamler (#39), Clemson’s Tee Higgins (#40), Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool (#43), and USC’s Michael Pittman Jr. (#55) were still on the board.
At 6’0”, 205 pounds, the senior Aiyuk caught 65 receptions for 1,192 receiving yards (18.3 ypr. avg.) and 8 touchdown receptions in 12 starts this past season—earning First-Team All-Pac 12 and 3rd-Team AP All-American honors.
The former Sun Devils’ standout also has the versatility to shine as a special teams returnman, as he returned both punts and kickoffs through 2018-19—which included a punt return for a touchdown last season.
Aiyuk posted a 4.50 forty time, 40.0 inch vertical, and 128.0 inch broad jump at the NFL Combine. His SPARQ rating (which measures overall athleticism) is in the 89.4% NFL percentile—good for 6th best in his wide receiver draft class.
For what it’s worth, he reportedly did recently undergo core muscle surgery.
Given his special teams’ return prowess, it should come as no surprise that Aiyuk is incredibly explosive as a wide receiver and with the football in his hands after the catch.
The playmaking wideout also possesses excellent straight line speed and the ability to make highly contested catches downfield—including winning 50-50 jumpballs.
That being said, Aiyuk’s route-running could use some refinement, as he needs to become more nuanced as a route-runner and show greater fluidity in-and-out of breaks.
While Aiyuk isn’t the ‘big bodied wideout’ that many Colts fans are coveting, he’s a fantastic athlete, who’s a big play weapon—both in the screen game and vertically down the field.
In a blink of an eye, he can take any play ‘to the house’.
Given the draft board, Aiyuk would be a solid choice at #34 for the Colts at wideout—although there are some other intriguing names like Higgins, Claypool, and Pittman Jr. too:
I love ASU WR Brandon Aiyuk. In a normal year, he would be a top 3 WR in the draft. I think he’ll be a steal late one/early 2. His run after catch ability is outstanding. https://t.co/7fcDhkGJ7D— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) April 2, 2020
ASU WR Brandon Aiyuk is a stud. He's strong, explosive and very competitive. He's going to be a great pro.— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) November 24, 2019
Brandon Aiyuk is growing on me second time through his tape. He's not the most developed route runner, but I don't think he loses a smidge of speed when he breaks off a route. It's pretty wild. I thought the video jumped a few times, that's how fast he hit breaks— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) April 2, 2020
Brandon Aiyuk is one of draft's fastest risers because of how electrifying he is with ball in his hands.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) April 7, 2020
Dominated on kickoff & punt returns at Arizona State & in 2019 gained more yards after contact than any WR eligible for this year's draft.
#ArizonaState WR Brandon Aiyuk is one of the most underrated NFL prospects in this class.— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 12, 2019
Poor pursuit angle by the safety, but Aiyuk’s route speed forced the miss and did the rest. pic.twitter.com/smMjMdEm2w
Brandon Aiyuk. Or Michael Pittman https://t.co/uMAbfc7bOu— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) November 25, 2019
Meanwhile, the 6’2”, 304 pound Gallimore recorded 30 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in 14 starts during his senior season for the Oklahoma Sooners—earning 2nd-Team All-Big 12 honors.
He ran a freak 4.79 forty time at the NFL Combine to go along with 23 bench press reps.
Gallimore shows excellent explosion off the snap and always plays with a high motor—and has the type of athletic upside to groom into a potential interior force at defensive tackle.
He also has shown some effective go-to pass rushing moves inside—including a spin move.
Gallimore can hold his own against the run and looks like he has the scheme versatility to play as either a three or one-technique defensive tackle for the Colts—although he looks like more of a natural three-technique all things considered.
He’s the type of solid, all-around defensive tackle that can consistently penetrate and be very disruptive in an opponent’s backfield.
On the other hand, Gallimore needs to get stronger at the point of attack at times—namely with his leverage and balance. He also could use some improvement with his overall hand technique, which can be inconsistent—but is definitely coachable at the next level.
With the Colts having traded for All-Pro DeForest Buckner and signed backup Sheldon Day at defensive tackle, Gallimore may be more of a “luxury pick” here.
However, if he’s clearly the best prospect available on the Colts board, he’s clearly the best prospect available.
Denico Autry turns 30 years old in July (and is a free agent at season’s end), and it’s not as though the Colts can’t always use another impact interior rotational piece—as general manager Chris Ballard has preached strengthening his team in the trenches since his arrival in 2017.
That being said, I think it’s fair to look at the draft board and wonder whether Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs (#47) or LSU offensive guard Damien Lewis (#50) would make more sense for the Colts bigger picture—given their already improved depth at defensive tackle this offseason.
Here’s what others are saying on Gallimore:
Neville Gallimore, IDL, Oklahoma: HOT motor, works to the edge of blockers quickly and hands are active. He can be erratic and get himself stuck if his first move doesn't land. Needs to be more consistent, but he should test great and has the traits you want.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 26, 2020
Neville Gallimore was an anchor in the middle of the Oklahoma defensive line last season. pic.twitter.com/segwPeSdRA— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) August 3, 2019
Removing screens, play-action passes and throws within 1.5 seconds of the snap, 2019 FBS leaders in PFF pass-rush win rate:— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) March 13, 2020
1. Jordan Elliott (26.1%)
4. Javon Kinlaw (22.8%)
5. Justin Madubuike (22.5%)
T-8. Derrick Brown (21%)
15. Neville Gallimore (18.9%)