As this series returns to the 2014 rookie class, the next player featured is former Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street. Selected by Dallas as the 146th overall pick in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, Street is expected to make the Cowboys’ 53-man roster and compete to be the team’s option fourth wide receiver. With less-than-inspiring competition in Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris, as well as rave reviews from an owner who considered drafting him in the third round, Street is a fourth round dynasty rookie pick (or later) who could emerge with strong value relative to his low cost.
The record holder at Pittsburgh with 202 career receptions (and only 160 yards shy of Antonio Bryant for the school’s record for receiving yards), Street started 40 games and totaled 2,901 yards with 16 touchdowns through the air. After redshirting in 2009, he caught 25 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns in 2010 to earn himself a starting role as a sophomore. Despite a rocky 2011 season which included an assault charge and a concussion (in separate incidents), Street led the Panthers with 53 receptions for 754 yards and two touchdowns as he started every game.
The best season of his collegiate career came in 2012 as he was name to the Second Team All-Big East after posting 73 receptions for 975 yards and five touchdowns. Street was relegated to a secondary target his senior season as Tyler Boyd entered the scene (take note of this name in devy leagues), but he still caught seven touchdown passes and averaged nearly 17 yards per catch. Throughout his career at Pittsburgh, Street was forced to deal with ineffectiveness and inconsistency at the quarterback position. Considering the school records he currently holds, he adapted well.
[inlinead]?A track star in high school, Street was among Combine leaders at wide receiver in the vertical and broad jumps. A 4.52 40 yard dash was disappointing and likely contributed to his slip in the draft after being widely projected to be a day two draft pick, though some feel he plays quicker on the field than this result indicates.
What he may lack in speed he makes up for in many other areas. At 6’3” and listed between 190 and 200 pounds, the sure-handed receiver demonstrated the necessary size and speed combination to be a versatile threat in the slot or split out wide (not unlike former Cowboy Miles Austin). An excellent pass-catcher and polished route-runner, Street has a reputation for catching anything thrown in his general vicinity with his long arms. With good hand-eye coordination and a knack for timing, he can consistently win jump balls and has the potential to be an effective red zone target as he builds more strength.
A variety of injuries hampered Street throughout his time at Pittsburgh, though for the most part he played through them. As a result, though he started 40 games in college, some scouts are concerned that durability will be an issue for him in the NFL. Burst off the line and lack of acceleration to separate from defenses are perhaps the most common knocks on Street, though if Dallas plans to use him to run intermediate routes they can deemphasize this perceived weakness. He had a tendency to get pushed around on the field, so building more strength will also improve his blocking and ability to push off defenders.
As a big target with room to add some muscle, it will be interesting to see how Dallas chooses to use his abilities on the field. One inch taller (6’3”) than Dez Bryant (6’2”) with the same vertical (38 inches), Street could become a favorite red zone option in an offense that does not target the tight end frequently on the goal line (much to the chagrin of Jason Witten owners over the years). Terrance Williams is likely to be used more between the 20s as he doesn’t flash the same abilities as Bryant and Street in jump ball situations. With Cowboy management gushing over Street’s “ability to attack the ball,” expect to see some value from him in the end zone.
In preseason action, Street started off with a bang as he led Dallas with 43 yards on four receptions against San Diego. He didn’t contribute statistically in week two and only caught two passes for eleven yards in week three against Miami. Despite the lack of box score mentions against NFL opponents, head coach Jason Garrett and owner Jerry Jones have both been very vocal about Street’s on-field ability over the last few weeks (particularly following a two touchdown performance in team scrimmages just before their game against San Diego), focusing on his route-running, maturity and versatility.
This recent hype may have prompted another owner in your league to pick Street off waivers, though he is unranked among the top 25 wide receivers and top 50 rookies overall on DLF. He also went completely off the radar in August mock drafts, not being selected among the top 248 players (where you’re talking 20th round picks in standard formats). In other words, the cost is minimal to acquire Street.
I don’t see Street with significant upside given his speed and blocking limitations, particularly in 2014 with defined roles for Williams and Beasley, but could see him targeted four or five times a game for a team that is likely to spend a lot of time playing catch up. If those targets are in the red zone, which makes sense given his skill set, Street could prove to be a decent flex play in 2014. Long-term Street needs to make improvements in the aforementioned areas to be a regular fantasy starter, but he is a name to watch.[ad5]?