The 49ers selected wide receiver Aaron Burbridge out of Michigan State with the 213th overall pick.
School: Michigan State
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The former top national recruit went from a solid contributor (29 catches, 358 yards, one score) as a junior to a big-time playmaker for quarterback Connor Cook and the Spartans in 2015. Burbridge was named the Big Ten Receiver of the Year as a senior, as well as first-team all-conference by league coaches and media after nabbing 85 catches for 1,258 yards (with seven touchdowns). Both those figures led the Big Ten, becoming just the second Spartans player to lead the conference in that category (Kirk Gibson in 1976 and 1978). When Cook went back to pass, his first, second and third looks were to Burbridge as he trusted his teammate to make the clutch third-down catch as well as high-point the deep ball.
Has the body control and in-air athleticism to contort and come down with spectacular catches. Able to drop down and secure low throws and extend beyond his frame for diving catches left or right. At his best breaking off routes with suddenness and opening quickly for timing throws. Better at coming out of breaks to his left over his right. Detailed route-runner on double moves creating openings for big plays up top. Once on top of cornerbacks, looks to stack them to create throwing window for touch throws. Excellent at tracking the deep ball. Has 19 catches of 25-plus yards. Willing to match physical with physical at the top of his routes against huggers. Shows some aggressiveness as run blocker and gives effort when working up to safeties.
Hands are inconsistent and don’t appear to be strong enough to consistently succeed on contested catches. Showed some focus issues when routes worked towards the middle. Average foot quickness from press release. Play speed is consistent, but doesn’t have an extra gear. Needs to do a better job of selling the deep route to back cornerbacks off. Acceleration from breaks is average. Film shows potential concern getting away from press cleanly. Doesn’t win enough near the end zone. Gaudy stats took a big hit against upper-echelon competition. Hasn?t proven to be a playmaker after the catch.