Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street has been a big part of what has been an up and down season for the Panthers. Street has played well in big games against difficult opponents this season and had a combined four touchdowns in two of the Panthers biggest wins this season against Duke and Notre Dame. He also had a productive game against the Florida State Seminoles. What makes him unique in the Panthers offense is how often he ends up playing in the slot given how tall he is. And while it is an unusual fit, he has been effective in that role.
Street is an intriguing player because he has impressive length between his height and his remarkably long arms, but he also has quick feet and good long speed. His natural quickness and feet have made it so he has been able to play in the slot, but he is best suited to play on the outside. He needs to continue adding strength and just work to get more consistent with creating separation. Street projects as an early third day pick but a strong postseason could push him into the end of the second round.
Vitals & Build
Street is listed at 6’4” 195lbs and he actually looks taller than that by virtue the incredible length of his arms and his lean build. He is built like an extension ladder and it just keeps going when he reaches his arms out, which makes him extremely long. Street has gotten stronger and needs to continue adding strength. 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 has improved his stance since last season. It is still a little high, but the bounce out of it is small and he comes out relatively clean. With his frame and height, he could end up victimized by press coverage because of how he comes off of the ball. He needs to work on using his hands more effectively off of the line of scrimmage. 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 enables 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.
Street has the ability to use his quickness to create separation and get open, but needs to do it more consistently. While he can sink his hips and make good cuts, it needs to be more consistent. The biggest area where he needs to work to improve is how he makes wholesale changes or ninety degree cuts. He does a fantastic job with setting up post routes, but he can try to make more dramatic cuts too high. If he can improve how he shifts his weight and play lower, Street will come out more effectively and cleanly to get open.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 looks like he is a day three pick that could slip into the top 100 with a good postseason and his physical potential.
Some of the film used in this scouting breakdown was provided by the good folks at draftbreakdown.com