IRVING, Texas – After trading up in the second round to grab the defensive player they coveted, the Dallas Cowboys followed suit in the fifth round to grab the offensive player they wanted.
The Cowboys selected Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street at No. 146 overall in the fifth round, trading up from their pick at No. 158 and giving away their first seventh-round pick to do so. Street comes to Dallas after a four-year career at Pittsburgh, where he set the school’s career receptions record with 202.
“I just felt like going through this whole process Dallas was my No. 1 choice,” Street said. “I know I didn’t have any say in it, but just getting a feel for them, I felt like they had a lot of faith in me at the combine talking with them and (wide receivers coach Derek) Dooley worked me out. I think everything happens for a reason, and I am blessed to go to such a great organization.”
Street automatically becomes one of the biggest targets on the Dallas Cowboys roster, as he weighs in at 6-3, 198 pounds and posted a 4.55-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February.
“I think I can bring a different dimension,” Street said. “I can run on the inside and the outside. Coach Dooley had me run routes as an outside wide receiver, but then also put me in those quick, short and intermediate routes. I ran those at (Pittsburgh) as well.
“I can remember running a slot route and ended up stumbling a little bit because I over-strided, and coach Dooley told me to shorten my stride up. I shortened my stride up and he said I ran one of the crispest routes he’s ever seen. He feels like I am a quick learner, and I think I definitely am.”
He was the Panthers’ leading receiver for two straight seasons – in 2012, he snagged 73 balls for 975 yards and five touchdowns. His receptions and yards dipped to 51 and 854, respectively, in 2013, but he did improve his touchdown total to seven.
Like the Cowboys’ second-round pick, Demarcus Lawrence, Street comes with a small amount of off-field baggage. He was one of three Pittsburgh football players charged with simple assault and conspiracy in November of 2012, after a student reported being struck in the head during a confrontation with the players. The charge was eventually reduced to disorderly conduct, and Street was given community service.
With the free agency acquisition of LaRon Byrd in April, the selection of Street gives the Dallas Cowboys nine wide receivers on the current roster. The Cowboys also have Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris, as well as Jamar Newsome, Lance Lewis, and Tim Benford.
DAY TWO RECAP: Player To Watch On NFL Draft Day 3
Devin Street Pittsburgh WR 6-3 198 4.55
Physically reminds me of Andre Holmes (currently of the Raiders) when you study him on tape. Long, rangy build with the ability to make plays. Smooth route runner. Will see him line up in the slot at times which is surprising because I didn’t see the initial quickness for that. Is a long strider that builds speed as he goes. Will catch the ball on all levels and hands appear to be natural.
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.
STRENGTHS: Good-sized target with long arms to catch the ball well away from his frame…natural plucker with soft hands to catch everything thrown his way – nice job locating and high-pointing to come down with off-target throws…well-built with natural body control, using his size well, working the middle of the field and holding his own in traffic – terrific hand-eye coordination…long-strider with adequate build-up vertical speed…shows balance after the catch to pick up extra yards…coachable and known as a reliable teammate – senior captain…athletic bloodlines – father (Kutztown) and uncle (Tennessee State) both played college football…productive resume with 40 career starts and three 50+ reception seasons – school’s all-time leading pass-catcher with 202 grabs.
WEAKNESSES: Lean-muscled and needs to spend more time in the weight room to develop his functional strength…will be pushed around by smaller defenders and needs to shed the “soft” label…tight lower body and struggles to create much separation in his breaks…doesn’t have any suddenness as a route runner and will struggle vs. press coverage…needs to show better creativity and wiggle as a ball carrier to be a consistent threat after the catch…needs to stay focused for all four quarters and appears to have some mental lapses…lacks an ideal competitive temperament and too passive…some durability concerns, missing playing time in 2013 with nagging shoulder and ankle issues…character needs investigated after a Oct. 2012 incident when he was charged with one count of criminal conspiracy and simple assault after being accused of punching a student in the head – charges were reduced and he performed community service.
–Dane Brugler | NFL Draft Scout/CBS
STRENGTHS: Has excellent length and room for added bulk. Chews up ground with long strides. Is a big target underneath with a sizable catch radius. Shows natural receiving skills to track, concentrate and adjust. Soft, dependable hands to extend and pull in a throw off his body. Uses his big frame to post up defensive backs. Nice field awareness. Lined up outside and inside. Solid personal and football character. Productive, 40-game starter. Team captain.
WEAKNESSES: Has a thin build and could stand to pack on body armor — durability could be an issue. Needs to get stronger, particularly to improve his release vs. the jam. Builds to speed and is not a threat to take the top off. Leggy and fairly straight-linish — does not pop out of breaks or separate with quickness. Inconsistent route runner. Not aggressive or physical as a blocker. Can be more cognizant of ball security — carries loosely and swings the ball away from his body. Limited special-teams utility.
DRAFT PROJECTION: Rounds 4-5
BOTTOM LINE: Pitt’s all-time leading pass catcher, Street is a narrowly built, long-levered, smooth-muscled receiver whose best assets are his length and hands. Needs to incorporate more physicality into his overall game, but has the ability to be an effective zone beater and red-zone target.
–Nolan Nawrocki | NFL website