Heading into the 2016 season, the debate over who was the top receiver in the draft class centered around Clemson’s Mike Williams and USC’s JuJu Smith-Schuster. While Williams is still in that conversation, Smith-Schuster has taken a step back.
He has been held back, in part, by uneven quarterback play, but also a closer look also revealed some athletic limitations while other receivers took steps forward.
That step back and drop in draft stock could work to the New York Giants’ advantage. With free agent addition Brandon Marshall a short-term answer, they might look to a receiver like Smith-Schuster to understudy him.
- Big, physical receiver who plays up to his size.
- Does the little things for his teammates and is a strong blocker on the perimeter.
- Natural hands catcher who plucks the ball out of the air.
- Has a full route tree.
- Adept at finding the soft spots in zone coverages.
- Uses his frame to shield the ball from defenders.
- Not an exceptional athlete. Isn’t particularly fast or explosive.
- Suffers from frustrating (lack of) concentration drops.
- Relies too much on strength and physicality at the top of his routes. Could struggle to separate from NFL corners as a rookie, or get called for offensive pass interference.
Does He Fit With The Giants?
If the Giants want to bring in a receiver to understudy Brandon Marshall as a physical possession receiver to contrast Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, Smith-Schuster would be a good choice.
He has the hand size they covet woth 10 ½ inch mitts, and a full route tree. He needs to get better at executing at the top of his routes, but he is farther along than many other receivers. He also has the ability to find space, fight through arm tackles, and create after the catch, which is important in the Giants’ offense.
He may never be a true “Number 1” X receiver in the mold of Julio Jones, but there is definitely a place in the Giants for him.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 67th overall
CBS Sports - 80th overall
Draft Countdown - 44th overall
Draft Tek - 55th overall
JuJu Smith-Schuster’s draft stock varies wildly depending on who is looking at it. Some look at his lack of long speed and keep looking. Others will look at his size and physicality and be intrigued. He likely isn’t a fit for every offense, and he could struggle in a vertical passing scheme.
However, in a scheme that could get him 1-on-1 match-ups, some space, and an opportunity to use his size and ability to create after the catch, he could become a solid No. 2 option across from a more dynamic receiver.