Deontay Burnett NFL Draft Preview: Stock, Mock Drafts and Projections

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

After his draft preparations were limited by injury, where will USC wide receiver Deontay Burnett land in the 2018 NFL Draft?

Of all USC’s prospects who declared for the 2018 NFL Draft, Deontay Burnett may have been the biggest surprise of the bunch.

The junior wide out was exceptional for the Trojans, leading the team in receiving in 2017. In 14 games, he totaled 86 receptions for 1,114 yards, catching nine touchdowns.

Even with all of that success, Burnett may still be best known for catching the game-tying touchdown pass in the Rose Bowl to help beat Penn State.

He came up in big moments and put up big moments, but will that be enough for an NFL team to take a chance on Burnett?

Scout’s Take

“Standard issue slot receiver with a thin frame but above-average toughness when it’s time to make a catch and move the chains. Burnett doesn’t have the size or separation speed for frequent work down the field and may be better suited to a role as a possession target.”— Lance Zierlein,

“Space wideout who reads coverage extremely well. Ultra-quick movement skills. Plays bigger than his size due to impeccable ball skills. Capable of the making highlight-reel diving catches. Small stature main flaw with him as a prospect.”— CBS Sports

More from Reign of Troy

“The biggest concern with Burnett will be his size, as he’ll need to add some quality bulk to his lean frame if he wants to hold up against NFL defenses. If he can do that and still retain his fluidity and explosiveness, he could end up being a huge steal from this class a few years down the road, especially since he’ll get to his second contract at age 25.”— Luke Easterling, USA Today


Burnett’s decision to declare early may have been a surprise given his limited NFL measurables, but there still may have been an opportunity for him to impress a team during the draft process.

Unfortunately, a hamstring injury kept him from working out at the NFL Combine or USC’s Pro Day. Then, Burnett went out and ran a 4.70 40-yard dash at a later workout for scouts. The injury-limited time will do him no favors.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see Burnett’s draft range fall somewhere on Day 3.

Walter Cherepinsky of Walter Football projects him to the Vikings in the fifth round. Charlie Campbell also gives a fifth round prediction, but to the Seahawks.

The fifth round certainly isn’t as high as Burnett would have hoped, but he will no doubt hear his name called at some point during the draft festivities. Given his slight stature, he was always going to face some skepticism when fighting for a place in the NFL ranks. Then again, he came to USC as an underrated three-star prospect and didn’t let rating stop him from rising.