JuJu Smith-Schuster is a polarizing figure heading into the 2017 NFL Draft, but still should expect to land a new home on Day 2.
Every year, the NFL Draft offers prospects who split opinions and this year, one of those is JuJu Smith-Schuster. The USC wide out forged a productive, but often injury plagued, career. He caught a pass in all 40 games in which he appeared for the Trojans and started 39 times.
With 213 career catches he sits fourth on USC’s all-time receiving charts, dominating in the passing game with his size at 6-foot-2 and rare, aggressive physicality for a receiver.
Smith-Schuster’s highlight reel includes brutal stiff arms and vicious blocks alongside his many spectacular catches.
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The scouts who love him point to that strength and nastiness as proof of his worth.
But there are plenty of scouts who aren’t so on board, pointing to his lack of top-end speed, inability to get great separation and the drop in production during his junior season.
Something’s got to give, but only Smith-Schuster can decide the winner in that argument.
“Smith-Schuster is a solid outside receiver with the potential to contribute right out of the gate in the NFL. Concerns about the drop in production from 2015 to 2016 are mostly overblown (new quarterback, fewer targets) as he didn’t look any worse on tape and actually showed slight improvement in route running from year-to-year.”— Pro Football Focus
“Smith-Schuster will get dinged for his lack of speed and separation but he reminds me of Anquan Boldin with his strong hands, physical approach and ability to win the combat catches…Teams who have a speed merchant at one spot would be wise to take a look at Smith-Schuster as a physical counterpart.”— Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
“Smith-Schuster will never take the top off of NFL defenses but he’s a gifted wide receiver with solid size, good ball skills and a competitive fire. Smith-Schuster should emerge as a good No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the NFL.”— ESPN
Opinions may be split on Smith-Schuster’s ability to produce in the NFL, but there’s a general consensus that he’s headed for a Day 2 selection.
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Matt Miller of Bleacher Report projects him in the second round as the No. 55 overall pick to the New York Giants.
He’ll have to wait a bit longer than that according to DraftTek.com, which places him at No. 73 overall in the third round to the CIncinnati Bengals.
Walter Cherepinksy of WalterFootball.com envisions Smith-Schuster reuniting with Cody Kessler at the Browns, with the first pick of the third round.
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Highest of all, Charlie Campbell also of WalterFootball.com sees the Rams snatching Smith-Schuster up even sooner, keeping him in Los Angeles with the second pick of the second round.
Though he could fall into the third round, the likelihood remains that Smith-Schuster won’t have to wait too long on Day 2 to hear his name sometime in the second.