Juju Smith-Schuster 750

PRO 2017 Dynasty Rookie Spotlight: JuJu Smith Schuster, WR USC

JuJu Smith Schuster, WR USC

Height: 6’1 3/8″
Weight: 215
Arm: 32 7/8″
Hand: 10 1/2″

40-yard dash: 4.54 (combine)
NFL Comparison: Stevie Johnson, Hakeem Nicks

– young; won’t turn 21 until his rookie NFL regular season is almost over

– has great feet off the line of scrimmage and a nice toolbag of release-techniques versus all types of coverage and defensive back alignments

– not going to kill you with long-speed, but is certainly fast enough to get over the top of many secondary defenders

– fearless vertical threat when it comes to addressing safety help over the top; will not flinch to go get a football even when he has to feel safety help coming down

– underrated physical downfield blocker that sprung runners and fellow receivers for bigger plays than they would have gone for otherwise numerous times in the 2016 season

– big hands, but not soft hands; has the knack for the big play, can go up and get the football and show the ability to pluck it from the air at its highest point at times, but he’s not as dependable as a pass-catcher as you’d like when balls come in his range

– needs to show a little more physicality at the catch point to not allow defenders to jump routes and ballhawk like they sometimes do against him; he’s big enough to space-enforce in this aspect but doesn’t always do it

– with this said, he’s shown the ability on tape in numerous situations to track and adjust to footballs in flight in a big and beastly manner

– doesn’t get enough credit for being a fairly smooth route-runner; most will just notice the areas for improvement given his youth, but he’s farther along than some may assume in his stemming and subtle movements and adjustments to create separation; has to do with near-elite attribute of suddenness through route that reminds you of Stevie Johnson

– has a lot of ways he can beat you with the football in his hands; the suddenness witnessed pre-catch can be seen oftentimes after-catch and it can lead to elusiveness to avoid contact but he can also generate YAC with physicality and the ability to break attempted tackles by smaller DBs and at times make mincemeat of them

– had the benefit in 2016 of a very special college QB in RS FR Sam Darnold who has the ability to put the ball in very “catchable” spots for his receivers; and who can also buy time for his receivers with his feet and pocket mobility, allowing them more time than the average college wideout to get open or sit into/underneath zone shells and create openings

– pedestrian vertical leap of 32.5″ at the combine, in the 16th percentile among WRs and over three inches lower than recent historical average positionally

– did not participate in agility drills at the combine which is interesting considering his footwork into and out of his stems is borderline-electric for a WR who seems by the eyeball test to be of the “bigger” variety

– Snoop Dogg has called him “Sportscenter” since he was a little kid as Smith-Schuster played in Snoop’s youth football league, and Snoop always said that’s where he envisioned seeing Smith-Schuster’s highlights one day

– has a huge family and friends support system in L.A. that is called “Team JuJu;” sometimes up to 100 of them at games; there’s some worry regarding how he’ll adapt to a new physical setting in the NFL as he’s spent his whole life in L.A. and has such a robust support system there

– finished in the lower half of RW’s WR on-field testing scores from the 2017 NFL combine (32 of 52), but did record his best scores in the quick slant and in the post-corner, the two routes in the session we usually give the most weight to

Fantasy Outlook: Much of Smith-Schuster’s fantasy value will be tied to his NFL landing spot, but in early dynasty drafts, we see him as worthy of a first-round selection, albeit one maybe a little later in the first. The upside with Smith-Schuster is immense even though the ghosts of USC receivers of the recent past as NFL players do worry us somewhat. If Smith-Schuster can get into an NFL system with a receivers coach who’ll know how to get the most out of his skillset, he might become dynasty gold. We’re intrigued by the idea of Smith-Schuster to the Eagles as new Eagles WR coach Mike Groh has been known for coaching to the skills of his wideouts, leading Brandon Marshall to big years in Chicago, tailoring Alshon Jeffery’s game as a young player, aiding to revive Kenny Britt’s career with the Rams in 2016 and being a primary developer of Amari Cooper’s skillset while at Alabama.

Quotable from the combine:

(can you see yourself playing with Eagles and Agholor)

“Yup. I can see myself … Carson Wentz, Nelson Agholor, former teammate, and also me, too.”

(have you talked to Agholor)

“Yeah, I’ve talked to him multiple times.”

(what would it mean to stay in LA and play with Philip Rivers)

“It would mean a lot. A serious quarterback who’s a vet, staying back home, great market and everything else. I think the whole experience of being back home and having the fan base I have would just grow up more and more.”

(receiver you compare yourself too)

“Recently I like watching Dez Bryant. The way he plays physically, his mindset how he approaches, his passion for the game.”

(you OK with being compared to Anquan Boldin)

“Yeah, definitely. Anquan Boldin, yes, his speed, at the same time the way he plays, the way he approaches the game, basically the overall how he plays his game and how tough he is. I kind of see myself the same way.”

(youngest guy here, advantage or disadvantage)

“It doesn’t affect me. I got a lot of questions [about] you are the youngest player, you’re immature, you’re 20 years old, but I don’t see an age number. I can’t change that. I feel like I played football for a very long time through the years. I think the age is actually good. A young dude who’s willing to work.”

(bother you that questioning your speed and what you run in 40 over-rides what you’ve accomplished on field)

“Yeah, that’s not just for me. I think that’s for everybody. For myself I think I prepared right and I think I’m ready to run tomorrow.”

(Boldin makes living in slot, how comfy are you inside and can play inside and outside)

“Very inside-outside guy. Very comfortable, especially going into my junior year being double-coveraged a lot coach moved me around, played me inside, had a few touchdowns playing inside and being able to do more one-on-ones with safeties and linebackers.”

(how important is kick return ability during interviews with teams)

“It’s huge. And it’s not even me returning kicks, it’s me being in the front-line kickoff return, me being on punt, me being a gunner. Those are all great things that I bring, can package to teams.”

(which team did you grow up watching)

“I didn’t have one. It was all about different players on different teams.”

(Fournette said he didn’t really watch football growing up and that has people wondering if he loves football; do you love football)

“I’m going to say [I’m] a guy that loves football, but priority [wise] football is No. 3 in my life.”

(what’s No. 1 and No. 2)

“God and family.”

(can you explain the Smith-Schuster addition to your name)

“Yes. So growing up as a kid my biological dad stepped out of my life when I was 4. My step-dad stepped into my life. He was my male role model. He basically taught me right from wrong and to this day the reason why who I am today, a very respectful young man is because of him. In honor to take his name, keep Smith
because of my auntie who’s African-American, who stayed in my life, and to honor my dad with Schuster.”

(what was it like practicing against Su’a Cravens at USC)

“Su’a Cravens, man, very competitive dude. Very strong-spoken in what he does. Going against Su’a Cravens, the dude can play linebacker, he can play safety, so many different positions. It would be nice to play with Su’a to go against him. The year he had this year was really good. I’m proud of him. I wish him the best.”

(have you talked to Cravens about this process at all)

“No. A lot of the vets told me just stay calm, it’s going to be long days, and just embrace it because you’re only going to do it once.”

(talked to Redskins yet)

“Yes. Great meeting.”

(worked out with Carson Wentz this offseason; what was that experience like)

“I learned a lot on and off the field. He basically told me about the combine and what to expect, how to handle it. You only do it once and he said you should embrace it, make sure you’re the first at the drug test because it’s a long line, which it was, and just a lot of football good IQ. When to come in, when to throttle down against different defenses and stuff.”

(would you like to play with Wentz)


(how would you describe your strengths)

“When teams ask me what I’m best at, obviously I say football IQ. I played 39 games, started 38 games. I’m tough. I played through a broken hand and didn’t miss a game. Played through a torn thumb, didn’t miss a game. And just very competitive. Willing to work. Willing to put my body out there on a line.”

(what do you think you have to prove here)

“A lot of questions that they questioned me was he’s young, he’s immature, he doesn’t know football, and speed.”

(do you have all those)

“I think I’m doing well. Just kind of stay humble.”

(how did thing with Goff get set up)

“Well, the GM for the Rams kind of set it up and we kindof met out at a junior college when we threw. We threw with another couple of guys. John Ross was there, so it was great just to learn from all the guys.”

(how does Sam Darnold compare to some of the pro guys you threw with)

“Sam Darnold’s up there. That’s a probably one guy that I’d take from my team right now.”

(live up to latest line of USC receivers in the NFL)

“Most definitely. You have the Robert Woods, you have the Marqise Lee, you have Nelson Agholor and then the next ones now are me and Darreus Rogers. We kind of want to set that line, like keep the tradition going, keep producing and then just for our future and set the page for the other guys, the young dudes.”

(former USC receivers come back a lot)

“Most definitely. I threw with Nelson with Wentz. Qise [Marqise Lee], I’ve been working out with him at the facility I’m at right now, and then Robert Woods he pretty much does what he does.”

(how does interacting with those NFL USC guys help you)

“There are some guys who weren’t doing well at first that are doing well now. You learned a lot fo how they started off and how they got back to where they’re at, and then off the field stuff how to manage your money, how to manage your time, basically just staying out of trouble. That’s the whole case right now, just stay off the field but stay off any trouble.”

(Marqise Lee help especially about fighting through injuries)

“He had a great year this past year and that’s pretty much what he’s saying: Don’t let nothing discourage you from doing what you want to do.”

(which one of those USC WRs do you think you’re most like)

“Me personally I feel like I bring a different look for an SC receiver. You have Robert Woods who has great technique. He’s great at what he does. You have Marqise Lee whose speed kills. And then you have Nelson Agholor a little bit between the both of them. Great technique, very sound, speed. You have me who’s pretty big and physical and decent speed.”

(have you been compared to Brandon Marshall)

“I haven’t heard a Brandon Marshall but this is the first time.”

(who do people usually compare you to)

“Anquan Boldin, Dez [Bryant], little bit on the bigger side. I like Brandon Marshall a lot, too. Alshon Jeffery, like those are the guys.”

(do you know Alshon Jeffery)

“I don’t know him personally.”

(in what way to you think you’re similar to Boldin)

“Just a very competitive person at what he does. He goes up for the ball, attacks it at its high point, and he’s just a baller out there.”

(you think you’re like Mike Evans)

“If I was like 6-5. Those are the guys I like watching, the big-body dudes that know how to control their body in mid air. Basically just having good body control and just being physical in the game.”

(could you line up on other side of Evans with Bucs)

“I meet with the Bucs tonight [Friday] so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully it goes well.”

(have you talked to Agholor or Woods or any receivers from before you at USC and what advice)

“Nelson Agholor talked about no matter what you’ve got to stay positive. He didn’t have his best season but he said that he kept his mind right and just keep fighting. At the end of the day you’ve just got to keep producing. Marqise Lee told me that you’re going to go through some injuries that you’re going to have to face and you overcome that. And when he did he had a great season this past season.”


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