After an NCAA video game type season in 2015 where JuJu Smith-Schuster caught 89 passes for 1,454 receiving yards and 10 scores, he entered this past season as one of the most hyped players in the draft community. While he didn’t come close to matching his 2015 numbers, he still turned in a productive year.
Smith-Schuster still has a ton of upside at only 21 years old. At the moment, he’s barely hovering in the 1st round conversation after being passed up by guys like Mike Williams and Corey Davis over the course of the season. If Smith-Schuster does end up landing in the 1st round, he’ll have to break the “USC WR bust” stereotype. Does he have what it takes to defeat that brand?
Name: JuJu Smith-Schuster
Comparison: Joe Horn
Draft Grade: 1st Round
Positives: Good height with arm length and huge hands. Very proportioned body. Outstanding height to weight ratio. A well-built body for his age and position. Huge, well-developed arms. Great lower-body bulk with strong hips, backside, calves and sturdy ankles. Naturally strong. Good speed with the ability to tear off large chunks and take the occasional catch to the house. Quick feet. Excellent agility. Lowers his hips and changes direction well. Upper and lower body dance to the same song. Moves like a panther and is extremely smooth. Start to stop quickness is ideal. A leaper who can go up and get the ball at its ceiling and has an outstanding catch radius. Quickly flips his hips and turns into a runner. Excellent after the catch awareness in the open field and finds creative ways to get to the marker. Extremely physical as a runner and has a violent stiff-arm. Can make the circus catch. Contorts his body and will sell himself out to make the big catch. Can extend and make the one-handed catch away from his body. Tracks the ball well over his head. Has quick eyes and his hands are always where they need to be to make the catch at the last moment. A hands-catcher who squares and plucks the ball. Rarely disconnected from the ball and does a good job holding onto it after the catch. Takes a tough lick like a pro and gets right back up. Gives effort and shows toughness as a blocker. Will sacrifice his body to help teammates. Especially tough. Will do anything in his power to play on game day and will play hurt. Light-hearted and outgoing personality. Liked by his teammates. Loves the game. Coaches rave about his coachability, work ethic, time management, and toughness. Comes from a good family. Confident. Lots of potential. Coming into the league young.
Negatives: Lacks game-breaking, elite speed. Not especially explosive out of his breaks. Route-running ability has incrementally improved but needs to keep getting better. Drops and double-catches are still too common. Comes in and out of games with dings and plays very physically which could take it’s toll.
Outlook: JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of the most intriguing underclassmen receivers in this class and combines good size, an unusually well-developed frame, athletic fluidity, a big catch radius and supreme toughness. Smith-Schuster is extremely young and is still smoothing out his edges but has the type of work ethic and character to shine. Smith-Schuster’s best value is at the back-end of the first round.