I'm reaching out to the respective SB Nation college blogs to get some more information about the Dallas Cowboys 2014 draft class from people who have been following them for years. In my latest installment, Anson Whaley of Cardiac Hill, the blog for the Pittsburgh Panthers, fills us in on Dallas' fifth-round pick, wide receiver Devin Street.
1. While Cowboys fans were
lusting madly after very interested in Aaron Donald, we generally didn't have Devin Street so much on our radar. Could you give us an overview of his career at Pittsburgh?
Street is a guy that's similar to Donald in that they both came in as pretty average recruits but left as stars. Street is Pitt's career leader in receptions and while he isn't as good as guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Bryant, or maybe even Jonathan Baldwin that left early, he's a very reliable receiver. Street also had some unfortunate things to happen to him as well.
He had three different coaches at Pitt for starters, and one of those guys, Todd Graham, ran a quirky offense that probably meant he didn't get showcased as much as he could. Street also played alongside Tyler Boyd, one of the best freshmen receivers in the nation last year. Boyd had over 1,000 yards and his emergence also probably took some opportunities away from Street. He also spent some time hurt and missed three full games and parts of another. A lot of people harp on the fact that he didn't have a 1,000-yard season at Pitt but he had 975 in his junior year and would have likely topped 1,000 without the injuries last year.
2. One thing the Cowboys coaches seemed impressed with was his route running. Was this also one of the things he was known for at Pitt?
Yes, he definitely got that reputation and that really was a reason he became targeted so much. If there's one word to describe Street, it might be reliable. He always seemed to be in the right place and made the job of the quarterbacks easier. He doesn't have tremendous speed, but makes up for it with running good routes and dependable hands.
3. Street's biggest issue seems to be a lack of top end speed. Is that an accurate assessment in your view?
Street certainly isn't a burner - there's no way around that. But as I wrote in a brief post on our site over the weekend, I don't think it's fair to call him slow, either. Street has pretty average speed, but he has enough to slip behind defenses at times and more than makes up for it with catching nearly everything in his grasp. Street has good leaping ability and while he might not run by a lot of defenders, he can also win some jump balls. My guess is that we'll see Street as more of an intermediate guy, but he has some big play ability, too.
One play that I remember when his speed comes up was from his freshman season. Street took a short screen pass in a game against Syracuse and ran most of the way for a 79-yard score. I've not been able to find video of that play again, but I remember it and it really proved that he's not as slow as a lot of people think.
4. Although they took him in the fifth, the Cowboys (mainly Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett) have said that they had Street on the board as a third round talent. How did you see him coming into the draft?
I noticed that as well. Street's stock probably dropped a little since his senior season was a bit down for the reasons I mentioned above about Tyler Boyd's season and the injuries. If Street had a bigger year and stayed healthy, he would have probably been taken sooner. He tested the waters after last season and decided to return for another season since the projections likely weren't all that favorable.
In the end, he was slotted as a mid-round kind of guy and most projections I saw had him pegged between the fourth and fifth rounds. That's about where I figured he'd go but Dallas viewing him as a third-round talent isn't too surprising - after all, Street didn't become the school's leader in receptions without talent. Their assessment was a little higher than most but I can see him having the kind of career that would warrant a third round kind of pick.
5. Jason Garrett is big on his "Right Kind of Guy", which, as best we can define, is a hard worker who loves the game of football, fits in well in the locker room, and keeps driving towards success even when things get tough. How well do you think Street fits that profile?
Street fits that profile extremely well, to be honest. I mentioned earlier that he was a lower-rated recruit and his offer from Pitt was maybe the biggest one he had. Street made a good career for himself by working hard and by the time he left, he exceeded all expectations. He did have an incident a few years ago where he was involved in a simple assault case against another student, but that was his only off-field issue I can remember. Overall, Street he's seen as a good character guy and was a team leader that was more than a good presence in the locker room. If nothing else, you can expect that he'll come in and work hard.
It's great to have a network of blogs like SB Nation. Thanks again to Anson, who is a great asset, even if he is still using a Blackberry.