Many thought that the Cowboys would seek out help at the wide receiver position in this year's draft, and sure enough they have. After executing a trade with the Detroit Lions (Picks 158 + 229 for 146), the Dallas Cowboys selected WR Devin Street out of the University of Pittsburgh.
The club released the oft-injured Miles Austin earlier this offseason and needed to add someone to the roster to replace him. In enters Street, who fits the profile of wideouts that Dallas loves to work with. At just under 6' 3" and weighing in at 200 lbs, Street's skill-set also matches what Dallas looks for. He also has extremely long arms making him as imposing a target as the tallest receivers in the league, that when combined with his impressive body control and catch radius, make for some very impressive receptions in traffic or while streaking downfield.
You might expect him to be an outside presence only, because of his height, but his ability to sink into his cuts helped him to succeed in the slot a well; flexibility that will only help him fit right in for Dallas.
When he gets the ball in his hands, Street is extremely dangerous. He accelerates well and has impressive straight line speed and if he has a lane, he can exploit it and take a short pass play all the way to the end zone. His size and build would suggest he has no business being used on bubble type routes, but the Panthers use him there because he is so explosive...
In many ways, Street is a slimmer version of Plaxico Burress. Burress, whether at Michigan State or in the NFL with the Steelers and Giants, was an extremely tall receiver who could make plays over just about anyone. Burress had the broader build to be more of a power forward as an outside receiver but earlier in his career, he was someone who had deceptive speed. Street is likely faster than Burress but the tradeoff at least for now is bulk, but both players offer someone who can go down the field and go up and get the football for their quarterbacks.
He also is well-renown for have soft hands that cradle the ball in to secure the catch. What he doesn't have is breakaway speed. He's not slow by any stretch of the imagination and his route-running does lead him to some long-distance completions. He isn't forcing the free safety to be "out of the picture" on the snap by any stretch of the imagination.
Also, he doesn't always seem to be the most physically imposing receiver and can be man-handled at the line of scrimmage which effectively takes him out of several plays. Street also was arrested for a physical altercation, further proving that Dallas was willing to overlook some circumstances that in previous seasons would have eliminated a player from their board (see Demarcus Lawrence).
Over basically a nine-game season, Street was able to haul in 53 catches for 857 yards and seven touchdowns in an offense with a completely inept offensive line. His quarterback, Tom Savage, rarely had any time in the pocket and was sacked 43 times on the year. That makes execution difficult for all parts of the passing game, yet Street still did his part. Those numbers were down from his junior campaign as Pittsburgh had a freshman stud by the name of Tyler Boyd that took over as the number one receiver.
In Dallas, you can expect him to be a third or fourth option; in the mix with Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris for playing time.
I had Street rated at Number 149 of 155 on my big board, right in line with where Dallas selected him. But don't take my word for it; let's check in with Cardiac Hill, our sister blog for the Pittsburgh Panthers.
He has enough speed to get some separation and, on occasion, pick up significant yards after the catch. It's equally wrong to call him fast, though. While he can get away from defenders a little, he's just not going to completely outrun many guys.
On the routes, Street certainly showed that he can haul in a deep ball. But his real ability, to me, lies in the fact that he has good hands. If the ball's near him, even when draped by a defender, he can come down with it. He's made all kinds of circus catches (see photo above, friends) during his career and, because of that, he's got some ability to catch a deep ball like he showed last year at Pitt assuming it's near him (looking at you, Tony Romo)...
Overall, Street has all the look of a possession receiver that's capable of occasionally stretching the field, as he suggests. And as a fifth-round pick that is the school leader career leader in receptions, that's not all that bad.
-- Drafttek.com ranked #173 Overall, #18 at the position
-- Greg Gabriel, National Football Post: ranked #33 at the position
-- CBSSports.com ranked #147 overall, #22 at the position
-- DraftInsider.Net ranked #181 overall, #26 at the position
-- DraftCountdown ranked #194 overall, #26 at the position
-- Scout.com outside Top 20 at position
-- NFLDraftScout.com profile (Rob Rang):
A three-star WR recruit, Street received attention from mostly MAC schools, but committed to Pittsburgh once they offered him a scholarship the summer before his senior year in high school.
After redshirting in 2009, he started four games in 2010 and became a full-time starter as a sophomore in 2011, leading the team with 53 catches and 754 yards. Street again led Pitt in receiving as a junior with personal-bests in catches (73) and yards (975), earning Second Team All-Big East honors. He was the secondary option as a senior in 2013 behind true freshman stud Tyler Boyd, but tied for the team-lead in touchdown catches (7) and averaged 16.7 yards per catch.
Street has an expansive resume and was the go-to target for Pitt the last few seasons, lining up in the slot and outside the numbers - was effective in the short, intermediate and deep levels. He has an athletic frame with the height/length combination to match up well in the NFL, but needs to consistently play up to his measureables and develop his strength. Street projects as one of the top-5 senior WRs in this draft class and early day three selection.