(Editor's Note: With less than one month until the start of the 2017 NFL Draft on April 27, the staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is USC's JuJu Smith-Schuster.)
Name: JuJu Smith-Schuster
Position: Wide Receiver
Honors:Smith-Schuster made the All-Pac-12 team all three years at USC and was one of 10 semifinalists for the 2015 Biletnikoff Award, given to the nation's most outstanding wide receiver.
Key Stat:The Pac-12's leading receiver in 2015, Smith-Schuster finished his USC career with 12 games of 100 receiving yards or more. At 20 years old, he also was the youngest player at the NFL Scouting Combine in late February-early March.
Where He's Projected: Draft observers generally slot Smith-Schuster as a potential Day 2 draft pick – second to third round – after top prospects such as Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross are off the board.
How He Helps The Cowboys:Wide receiver becomes less of a draft need now that Terrance Williams is back with a new four-year contract. Reserve wideout Brice Butler is also returning on a one-year deal, keeping the entire receiving group intact from last season: Dez Bryant, Williams, Cole Beasley, Butler, Lucky Whitehead. If there's a criticism of Smith-Schuster, it's his downfield speed and ability to separate from defenders, but he's a solid all-around player who could develop into a reliable possession receiver for a team.
Scout's Take:Will snatch the ball but there are also snaps where he will trap the ball against his body. Not an explosive player but very steady. Doesn't have breakaway speed. Routes are all over the place. Runs smooth but really doesn't really separate. There are snaps where you see him labor to get down the field. Catch the ball on the move but doesn't break as many tackles as you would think. Thought he'd be a little more dynamic in this area but isn't. Physical when he has to come back for the ball. Will take route inside. Big body helps his ability to shield defenders from the ball. Does a really nice job of finding space in routes. Will give his quarterback a window to deliver. Has a hard time running away. Can track the ball. Showed the ability to make plays down the field. Can catch the low ball. Nice trait is in his ability to adjust. Football intelligence. Situational player. Knows down and distance along with the score of the game. Will find space in zone. Runs slants and ins. Gives effort as a blocker but not great. Works hard to tie his man up instead of using his size. School not known for the toughness of their receivers but this player is different. Not going to miss time with injuries.
- Bryan Broaddus