Drafted: Round 2, No. 62 overall
Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Long Beach (Calif.) Polytechnic
6-foot-1, 215 pounds
4.54 second 40
32 7/8-inch arm length
10 1/2-inch hands
33.5-inch vertical jump [USC Pro Day]
123-inch broad jump [USC Pro Day]
15 bench press reps
Scout Pre-Draft Rankings
No. 3 wide receiver in the draft
No. 28 overall prospect
Other Draft Rankings
CBS: No. 81 overall, No. 9 WR
NFL.com (Mayock): No. 57 overall, No. 6 WR
ESPN: No. 51 overall, No. 6 WR
WalterFootball.com: No. 5 WR
When JuJu Smith-Schuster got to USC's campus, it wasn’t known which position he was going to play initially because of his tremendous playmaking ability as a five-star receiver and a headhunting safety. Smith-Schuster seemed destined for stardom as soon as he stepped on campus regardless of position and that’s exactly what happened. He started 39 of the 40 he played in and showed his potential immediately in his collegiate debut when he caught four passes for 123 yards — breaking USC’s true freshman mark for a receiver.
That performance was the first of 12 that he gained 100+ yards. Six of those came in the first nine games of his sophomore season when Smith-Schuster averaged 121.6 per game. That number declined over the final five games of the 2015 campaign coming on the coat tails of the Long Beach Poly product having surgery on a broken bone in his hand and still playing just a couple of days later.
He finished with 89 receptions for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore. If he would have repeated those numbers last season, Smith-Schuster may have been taken a day earlier in the draft, but he ended his junior campaign with 70 catches for 914 yards and 10 scores.
Smith-Schuster was three times named to an All-Pac-12 team, finishing on the first team his junior season when he was also one of 10 Biletnikoff semifinalists. He finished his USC career with213 catches for 3,092 yards (14.5 avg) with 25 touchdowns.
Where He Fits:
Smith-Schuster gives the Steelers a physical weapon on the outside that isn’t afraid to go across the middle. If Smith-Schuster catches a pass across the middle, he also has the ability to break tackles using his strength, which also enables him to dominate smaller defensive backs. With Antonio Brown on one side outside, Smith Schuster should see plenty of room over the middle if used in the slot or one-on-one opportunities if he works his way into the No. 2 outside receiver role.
One of the youngest players not only in this draft, but in the history of the event, Smith-Schuster is still maturing. He's had fits of adolescent behavior, including storming out of a practice and having to have head coach Clay Helton have to come acquiesce him and talk him into returning, but he plays the game at a much older level with his physicality and ability to play through pain.
Smith-Schuster follows the path of his receivers coach/offensive coordinator Tee Martin, who was also picked by the Steelers and could fit a role similar to what Martin's Pittsburgh teammate Hines Ward was for the black and gold. Like Ward, Smith-Schuster loves to hit other players and isn't afraid to blow up a defender with a comeback block. For example:
He'll fight tooth and nail for his team in the same mold as Ward, but obviously, getting to Ward's stature in Pittsburgh will take a long, lengthy career of success -- something never guaranteed in the NFL, but definitely possible for a player of Smith-Schuster's ilk.
“Smith-Schuster will get dinged for his lack of speed and separation but he reminds me of Anquan Boldin with his strong hands, physical approach and ability to win the combat catches. JuJu is missing some of the speed traits teams want from their WR1, but he could become a high-volume, possession target with the size tto win some 50/50 throws down the field. Teams who have a speed merchant at one spot would be wise to take a look at Smith-Schuster as a physical counterpart.” - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
"It was clear from the beginning that even among the great pass-catchers to play at Southern Cal, JuJu Smith-Schuster was cut from a different cloth….NFL teams in search of a big, physical tone-setter on the perimeter will value Smith-Schuster's physical talent, work ethic and toughness.” – Rob Rang, CBS Sports
"I mean I'm just so competitive. I want the best for my teammates and I'll do whatever it takes. If we got to fight or even yell at someone on my team to tell them like 'Let's go.' I'm passionate about the game. When you're really passionate about your job, you'll do anything to do the best for your job." -- JuJu Smith-Schuster after a practice scuffle with the defense.
"I try to stay positive the majority of the time, but when negative vibes come toward me, I either tend to block it out or I use it to my advantage. Every great person in anything that they do, they're always going to have haters. For me, it's just what can I do to make myself better and what can I do to help our my team." - JuJu Smith-Schuster on using negativity as motivation
And new teammate and former Trojan TE Xavier Grimble:
Then there was JuJu being JuJu, just a big kid having fun with the family:
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