Juju Smith-Schuster Scout Report
John "Juju" Smith-Schuster is a 6ft2 220lbs wide receiver from USC. He declared for the NFL draft after 3 years in college. This past season he was a major contributor to USC's great year (they finished 9-3) and ended the season with a win over Penn State (49-52) to claim the Rose Bowl.
Juju's college career was fairly decent. As you can see above he averaged almost 3,000 yards in 3 years with just 206 receptions, he was USC's #1 WR, he's a big target and a clutch catch specialist, due to his great natural athletic abilty he's hard to take down and covering him is a big challenge, the one thing that corner's have on Schuster is the speed advantage. He's not incredibly fast so he lacks the separation but at the same time he is quite tall and strong for a wide receiver so in a 50/50 ball he ends up having all the advange. His return game during his college years wasn't bad, he saw less and less action in this last few seasons but that's mainly due to his lack of speed (and upmost importance as a starter) so he probably won't return kicks in the NFL however he still can be a good special teams player and that is definitely a plus for him.
What helped him too was his good combine putting up a set of good numbers specially his 40 yard dash, he ran it in 4.54 seconds which is quite good for a 6ft2 guy, his vertical jump was also impressive.
After watching several games of Schuster on draft breakdown I feel like I got a good grip on what he's good and bad on.
Strengths : Juju is a real athlete and due to his size he's not scared to make contested catches over the middle of the field however because of his lack speed he's definitely more efficient in zone marking than man as he'll struggle a lot to create separation. Like I mentioned previously his strength allows him to win most 50/50 balls against cornerbacks. When he's not catching, he's blocking. He's not the best at it but he's a hard working guy and will for sure help the run game. He's also very good at making sideline catches as most of the times he manages to keep both feet inbouds. His best asset is the fact that he's got a terrific vision allowing him to get a lot of yac and he will try to stiff arm himself out of sticky situations.
Weaknesses : Lack of speed means that most of the times the corner doesn't get elluded by him so he's easy to track, he also could be a better route runner, in the end his biggest downside is the lack of a burst of speed that just let's him get away from players.
Some examples (pictures) :
Here he shows his good blocking skills.
Here's a big middle of the field catch (with several players next to him) to convert a third down.
Makes the catch then runs out against the defender winning a couple of more yards before getting taken down by 4 men.
Here he wins a contested catch thanks to his size and weight advantage.
Man coverage? No problem. Easy completion and big gain thanks to him and his QB.
Here you can see the corner sticking with Schuster well thanks to his lack of speed yet he almost makes the catch but ends up dropping it.
Overall I believe that Juju Smith-Schuster is a good player for any team, I kinda see him like a Pierre Garçon as a possession catch type of receiver also his ability to win 50/50 balls will allow any team to win more games. He'd be a nice fit in a team like the Rams, the Cowboys or the Redskins for example. They are all teams that need a big, less known, target that is reliable and can move the chains. I think Schuster will end up having a great career but I don't know how much action he'll see on his first year.