Arizona State HC Edwards draws parallels between rookie Brandon Aiyuk and 49ers legend Rice

Friday after the first round of the 2020 NFL draft, Bay Area native and current Arizona State head coach Herman Edwards joined Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” show to talk about the 49ers' 25th overall pick, Brandon Aiyuk.

Edwards dropped several bombs on the show, from talking about how GM John Lynch is the Godfather to his daughter, to comparing Aiyuk to Jerry Rice. Yes, you heard that correctly: JERRY RICE.

Edwards gushed about Aiyuk and how competitive the former Sun Devil receiver is. “First guy in the building, last one out,” the coach said. Herm went on to talk about how explosive of an athlete Aiyuk is, and if it weren’t for Arizona State having a true freshman quarterback, a freshman left tackle and a freshman right tackle, they would’ve forced fed him the ball even more.

[McGee: In defense of Javon Kinlaw, the 49ers have the environment where drafting DL pays dividends]

Considering the circumstances, Aiyuk’s production was extremely impressive. His 18.3 yards per reception was the most by any Pac12 receiver with 40 or more catches.

Edwards touched on his former receivers breakaway speed, “I’m not going to say he has 4.3 (40) speed or anything like that, but he’s got good football speed. That’s what you see.” What he said next, with hesitance, is what might have been more shocking than him announcing John Lynch was his daughter’s Godfather.

“Now I’m not saying his name, I’m not saying he’s him. But there’s a little bit of a connection here. Jerry Rice with the ball in his hands, you weren’t going to catch him. Now put a clock on him, he didn’t have the fastest 40 time. But you put the pads on him, and I tried to cover him. I’ll tell you what, he’s a little faster than what that time says.”

Rice is most famous for his stellar career, but his ability to run away from defenders while clocking in at a 4.70 40-yard dash time might be his claim to fame.

Mentioning any receiver in the same breath as Jerry Rice is high praise. Aiyuk, who timed faster than Rice (4.50 40), was dealing with a core muscle injury he had surgery on after the combine. I look forward to seeing the rookie use that speed to run away from opposing defensive backs this fall.

Media courtesy Arizona State University Athletics

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