Thursday, March 16, 2017

2017 NFL Draft Profile: JuJu Smith-Schuster

Juju Smith-Schuster, USC
6-1, 215
Smith-Schuster was a three year player for the Trojans. He finished second on the team in receiving as a freshman, posting a line of 54-724-5, and averaged 13.41 yards per reception. He played in 14 games as a sophomore, and was the team's leading receiver by posting 89-1454-10, and averaged 16.34 yards per reception, which led all Trojan receivers who finished with 20 or more receptions on the season.
Smith-Schuster was bothered by a litany of injuries as a junior, and saw his production drop somewhat. He posted 70-914-10, and averaged 13.06 yards per grab.
The Good
He has solid size, and will use it to work in traffic.
Will go over the middle for the hard catches.
Will fight for every football, and has excellent movement coming back to the ball.
Knows how to find the soft spot in any zone defense, and will set up camp there.
Solid hands, and will catch the ball away from his body with consistency.
Excellent awareness on sideline grabs, always knows where his feet are against the sideline.
Plus field vision, and follows natural lanes with efficiency.
Good blocker downfield, and blocks with exceptional sell out and power.
Runs like a bigger player in the open field, and can take some hits.
The Bad
Is not always exceptional when breaking on routes, and can get taken off his route by physical DBs.
Does not explode off the snap, and lacks big time speed to create natural separation. Lacks a second gear.
Can get jammed at the line, and does not have any real burst.
Scores in chunks, and is not a consistent scoring threat.
Long strides, but not a great runner, and routes can get sloppy.
Better fit for a slot receiver rather than an outside threat.
Will never really be more than a solid possession receiver, will not be much of a big play guy.
Got banged up at USC...a lot.
Final Overview
Smith-Schuster has enough size and ball skills to rate as a first rounder, but I would not be shocked to see him drop to a second rounder on draft day, or even later because of some perceived short comings.  His physical style of play will lend to injury concerns, and he lacks top shelf speed that is expected of high impact early round receivers. He is solid enough, and in the right spot, I would not hesitate to take him. I believe that he will be highly productive in the right situation, but he also has to stay healthy to get there.

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