December 1, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Devin Street (15) runs with the ball against the South Florida Bulls during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Pittsburgh Panthers defeated the South Florida Bulls 27-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Pre-Season Breakdown – Devin Street, WR Pittsburgh


Pittsburgh had a great run of talented wide receivers for a while including Larry Fitzgerald to Antonio Bryant.  A downturn in the fortunes of the Panthers has yielded a relatively dry run on the position, but the next in the line of these talented receivers could be Devin Street.  Street is a tall, wiry receiver with good quickness and deceptive, long striding speed.  In spite of some extremely inconsistent quarterback play, Street had 73 catches, 975 yards and 5 touchdowns as a junior.

Street has the classic size and speed of an outside receiver and he is used in that role, but he is also quick and fluid enough to contribute in the slot and catch bubble passes and be a big time threat to make plays.  One of the big questions facing Street going forward is whether or not he will be able to add bulk to his frame as he is rail thin, but his speed, quickness, length, and ability to catch the football make him extremely intriguing as a draft prospect.  Because of the relative anonymity of Pitt in recent years, Street may be a late riser in the process and someone who really impresses in workouts late in the year but he has legitimate talent as well and looks like a fringe top 100 pick that could push his way up the rankings.

Vitals & Build

Street is listed at 6’4” 190lbs and he actually looks taller than that by virtue the incredible length of his arms and his slight build.  He is built like an extension ladder and it just keeps going when he reaches his arms out, which makes him extremely long.  The problem is Street is rail thin and really needs to add bulk, so when he goes full extension, he looks like is primed to be broken in half by defenders.  He is not weak but extremely lean.  Street does accelerate well and he has deceptive long speed and it builds quickly and opponents do not always see it coming.  He has a ton of physical potential if he can add weight and really fill out his frame in the weight room with his speed and length.

Route Running & Technique

Street’s stance is lackadaisical at times, looking like he is waiting for a bus rather than ready to run a route.  There are times when it is better, but he needs to get lower in his stance because he bounces out of it way too much.  With his frame and height, he could end up victimized by press coverage because of how he comes off of the ball.  To his credit, Street is light on his feet and he is shifty when it comes to getting away from press.

When it comes to running routes, Street does a good job of sinking his hips and exploding out of his cuts, which enable him to create separation.  His size would suggest he should be playing on the outside and Pitt certainly uses him in that capacity but he is fluid enough and quick enough in how he runs routes where they are extremely comfortable having him run out of the slot.  Street is not stiff at all and is able to work underneath and get into the spots the routes ask him to do where he then unfolds and takes advantage of his size and his ability to box out opponents.  His feet are good enough where he is able to keep smaller, more fluid corners off balance with where he is going to go in his routes.  Street does a pretty good job of using his hands to keep opponents out of his body and to keep himself free to get into his routes.

One of the areas where Street needs to really stand out is in the red zone.  He has the size and quickness but he needs to a bigger playmaker down there and someone who is basically guaranteed a shot to get a one-step fade and catch the ball over the opponent.  Added strength would make a big difference in that as he would be able to hold his ground and box out opponents better in that respect.

Hands

In terms of his ability to catch the ball, Street does a pretty good job.  Not surprisingly, he is more comfortable catching passes that are at or above his shoulders than he is passes below his waist.  He is virtually indefensible when it comes to high pointing passes because he is as tall as he is and his arms are remarkably long.  In his stance, which is too tall, Street’s hands can comfortably reach and probably cover his knees.  So as tall as he is, when his arms go up for the ball, he is probably extending more like a wide receiver that is 6’7” or perhaps taller.  The potential catch radius is huge but he does need to get more consistent catching passes lower.  For the most part, he is comfortable catching the ball with his hands and can snatch the ball out of the air cleanly.

One of the areas where Street seems to excel in his ability to track the football and there are some instances where he takes his eye off the ball, flips his body around, adjusts and still catches the ball easily.  For example, in one game, Pittsburgh ran a smash concept with Street in the slot running the flag route.  Street looks over the wrong shoulder, sees the ball, flips his head around to look over the correct shoulder and still comfortably reaches out and catches the ball for a touchdown.

Run After Catch

When he gets the ball in his hands, Street is extremely dangerous.  He accelerates well and has impressive straight line speed and if he has a lane, he can exploit it and take a short pass play all the way to the end zone.  His size and build would suggest he has no business being used on bubble type routes, but the Panthers use him there because he is so explosive.

Street is much quicker than he looks and is able to make guys miss in space at times.  In addition, when he gets a full head of steam, he generates a good amount of momentum and will lower his shoulder and run over defenders.  More power would only help and with his arms, if he can add the strength, he could add a devastating stiff arm to the mix that would either keep opponents away from him because of the sheer length but really jolt some defenders as well.

Blocking

When it comes to blocking, it all depends on how interested Street is as a blocker.  He is not overly imposing but he gets a lot out of the strength he has and does a good job of generating push off against defensive backs.  His arm length and sheer size enable him to overwhelm some opponents and allow him to get great blocks.

His effort when it comes to blocking for the running game is hit or miss but the one area where Street does seem to light up as a blocker is when his fellow receivers have the ball and he has the opportunity to help out with a downfield block to help open up a bigger play.  There are times when he flies across the field and takes out opponents with big blocks to open up running lanes for teammates.  If he brought that kind of effort to every single running play, he could be great and adding more strength would only help him do that much more in that area of his game.  The blocking scheme Pitt employs has Street looking to get to the safety and bring the corner with him by running honestly and making them believe he is running a route.  Done properly, he is occupying two defenders.

System Fit

Street’s natural fit is as an outside receiver at the next level but he is someone who could play in a vertical or horizontal offense.  The X-factor for Street could be whether or not NFL teams look at him and see a guy they want to move around and have him contribute in the slot as well as on the outside.  His quickness suggests he can do it, but his thin build raises the question of whether or not he is going to get killed going across the middle.  For a team that likes having tall receivers such as has been the history of receivers Philip Rivers has worked extremely well with, Street is a player that could be a great fit to play with him.

Schedule

Mon, Sept. 2 vs. Florida State
Sat, Sept. 14 vs. New Mexico
Sat, Sept. 21 at Duke
Sat, Sept. 28 vs. Virginia
Sat, Oct. 12 at Virginia Tech
Sat, Oct. 19 vs. Old Dominion
Sat, Oct. 26 at Navy
Sat, Nov. 2 at Georgia Tech
Sat, Nov. 9 vs. Notre Dame
Sat, Nov. 16 vs. North Carolina
Sat, Nov. 23 at Syracuse
Fri, Dec. 29 vs. Miami

Notable Games

The game in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech is extremely interesting for a few reasons.  First, it features Street going against one of the bigger, stronger corners in all of college football in Antone Exum.  Second, Exum is coming off of a knee injury in his own right and is hopefully going to be in good condition by that game.  Third, these two had a great battle last year in a matchup that went back and forth the entire game.  About a month later, Pitt hosts Notre Dame which will have Street against Bennett Jackson after last year’s game where the Panthers and Irish came down to the wire in South Bend.  The following week, Pitt hosts North Carolina and Street will be up against an extremely talented underclassman in Tim Scott.

NFL Comparison

In many ways, Street is a slimmer version of Plaxico Burress.  Burress, whether at Michigan State or in the NFL with the Steelers and Giants, was an extremely tall receiver who could make plays over just about anyone.  Burress had the broader build to be more of a power forward as an outside receiver but earlier in his career, he was someone who had deceptive speed.  Street is likely faster than Burress but the tradeoff at least for now is bulk, but both players offer someone who can go down the field and go up and get the football for their quarterbacks.

Draft Projection

So much of Devin Street’s stock is going to rest on what NFL scouts and decision makers believe will translate to the NFL.  First and foremost will be whether or not he can add bulk and fill out his frame.  After that, the question is whether people in the NFL believe his ability in the slot can translate to the next level or if he is going to only be an outside threat.  If they like him as a power slot option, his stock will increase as he becomes a versatile receiver who can really mix up the looks an offense wants to use.  Overall, Street is probably someone who will be a fringe top 100 pick but when it comes time for the postseason process, he will likely rise when he gets on the stop watch and when he is paired with better quarterbacks in an All Star game.

Tags: 2014 Mock Draft 2014 NFL Draft Devin Street Pittsburgh Panthers Football Wide Receivers