NFL Draft: Q&A with Pitt Wide Receiver Devin Street
By Dan Dahlke
Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Devin Street (15). Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
With the 2014 NFL Draft only a few months away, we reached out to some of the draft prospects we believe the Green Bay Packers could target in May. Today, we hear from the first offensive player in our series, Pittsburgh wide receiver Devin Street.
Street left his mark on Pitt’s record books. At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Street was a consistent receiving weapon in the Panthers offense, and he became the first player in Pitt history to reach the 200-catch milestone. He also fell 161 yards shy of becoming Pitts all-time leader in receiving yards.
The Pittsburgh receiver earned All-ACC Honorable Mention from the coaches in 2013, and proved in his four-year career as a Panther that he can be used all over the field in the offense.
Street could be a great sleeper pick in the draft and someone that could surprise people at the next level. He’s an incredible talent that might fly under the radar in a receiver-heavy draft.
To learn more about Street we reached out to him and he was gracious enough to answer some of our questions.
Q. Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up and how did you get into football?
DS: I’m from Bethlehem, PA, a small blue-collar steel town outside of Philadelphia. Ever since I was a kid I loved and enjoyed any type of sport. My father’s side of the family were all athletes and played football at the collegiate level. I would watch Deion Sanders as a kid and try to imitate things he would do. At the age of six, I even wore the jersey number twenty-one for the local Pop Warner league, the Bethlehem Steelers.
Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Devin Street (15) catches the ball for a touchdown against the Navy Midshipmen. Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports
Q. What led you to play for Pitt?
DS: I excelled at football and later received scholarship offers out of high school, Pitt being one. I didn’t play wide receiver until my senior year of high school. The whole summer after my junior year I was traveling to camps to prove to college coaches I could play. Each camp I went to I received offers and opened a lot of eyes. I ran a 4.4 in the forty at Pitt’s camp, and ten minutes later I had offers from every school there. It was close to home and I knew Coach Wannstedt and his staff were the right guys for me.
Q. With the college season over, what will the next few months leading up to the draft look like for you?
DS: The next few months leading up to the draft will require a lot of work for me mentally and physically. I plan to train and prepare myself to compete against the top players in the world. Not just compete, but to earn a starting position in my first season. I’ve always been doubted, therefore I try to work as hard as possible and play with a chip on my shoulder. When others are sleeping or taking a break, I’m either working out, watching film, or doing something to better myself as a person and player.
Q. You left Pitt as the school’s all-time leader in receptions with 202 and third in receiving yards with 2,901. What does it mean to you to leave your mark on the school’s history? How will you transfer this success to the NFL?
DS: Coming into college I was not a huge recruit; however, I came into Pitt with a mindset of I want to be one of the best receivers and leave my mark on the program. It was not an easy task with a coaching carousel and some instability. I stayed the course and just continued to work hard and fought through adversity head on. That’s what makes it all worth it for me. Not the numbers, catches, or huge games, but the growth when tough times struck. It’s about the journey, not the destination. I believe I’m only getting started as well. I plan to explode at the next level and make even greater strides of success.
Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Devin Street (15) catches a pass against Florida State Seminoles defensive back Karlos Williams (9) and cornerback Nick Waisome (rear). Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Q. You had a monster game to open the 2013 season against Florida State, recording six receptions for 161 yds. FSU is known for having some big time players in their secondary. What do you think it showed the nation when you played that well against some of the top DBs in college football?
DS: Those are the types of atmospheres I thrive in. Big time games where the challenge always rises and I show up. I prepare and study tape a vast amount and it showed in the game. It was great to have a huge game, but it was dissatisfying because we lost and I’m a team guy. Without my team I’m nothing, but I felt like I tried to do all I could do against the 2014 National Champions.
Q. Watching you play, you seem like a versatile receiver that can catch the ball downfield, in the flat, or in traffic. What do you think your strengths are as a receiver? Is there any one specific skill that you bring to the table that makes you unique?
DS: I think my biggest skill is my versatility. Although some people think I’m just a long strider who can just go deep, I’M MORE THAN THAT. I can line up in the slot and run quick routes, double moves, and screens. I’m capable of it all and have proved I can do it. I’m deceptive on film, so I can see why people may have their preconceived notions.
Strengths for me are my catch radius and ability to catch the ball in general. I always work on catching the ball before and after practice and do a lot of hand strengthening exercises along with hand-eye coordination drills. I believe I can move the chains for teams but also hit the homerun too. Because of my deceptive speed, I can get on defenders’ toes quickly, use body position, and blow right past them without them recognizing it.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish cornerback Bennett Jackson (2) commits pass interference against Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Devin Street (15). Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Q. Are there any NFL players you study or model your game after? Any players that you watched growing up that inspired you to pursue football as a career?
DS: Deion Sanders as I mentioned before, but from a position standpoint not so much. I was a fan of Randy Moss because of his ability to stretch the field and go vertical. Chad Johnson for his precise route running ability and quickness. And Marvin Harrison for his ability to understand the game from a receiver standpoint and the type of person he is. So I try to blend all three of those guys into my style of play at wide receiver.
Q. Are there any parts of your game you’d like to improve going into the draft? If so, how will you go about doing this?
DS: The biggest thing I can improve is my weight and strength. I’ve always been a slim guy, but I really try to work hard in the weight room. With that I can be more durable and block better. I’ve totally changed my diet, and I’m also in the gym 2-3 times a day, five days a week leading up to draft day. It’s a lot easier not having to worry about classes anymore.
Q. The Packers may be looking to the draft to add depth to their receiving corps. How would you feel about being drafted by Green Bay this spring? What kind of player and teammate would they be getting?
DS: I would love the opportunity to work for Green Bay and be surrounded by great players such as Randall Cobb, Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy. Coach McCarthy has a great system up there and has had plenty of success. I think I could transform and learn a lot in a system like his.
Pittsburgh Panthers wide receiver Devin Street (15). Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Q. What would it be like for you to play alongside guys like Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson and catch passes from Aaron Rodgers?
DS: It would be great to learn from guys like that who’ve made an impact in game situations. Catching passes from Aaron Rodgers would be beneficial. He is the type of player that enhances everyone else’s game around him. Having arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the game is a huge plus for a wideout!
Q. What would you bring to their offense?
DS: I could bring a vertical threat to the team, but I’m also a guy who will move the chains and create separation with short and intermediate routes. I’m also 6’3’’ and have the ability to jump and catch contested passes, so I can be a red zone factor as well.
Q. When you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies?
DS: Football is my life and I’m usually occupied participating in practice, games, or just working on my craft in my off time. I want to be one of the greatest players to play the game, and with that I know I will have to work my tail off and eat, breathe, and sleep football. But when I do have down time, I like to give back to those less fortunate and affect as many people as possible. This past summer I took a missions trip to Haiti and loved everything about it. I’m a man of faith, and I believe the Lord has put me on this earth to use my ability to affect people and bring about change in a positive way.
Q. Finally, is there anything else you’d like Packers fans to know about you?
DS: I want them to know actions speak louder than words, and if I did get the opportunity to be a Packer I would show them instead of just talking about it!
Career college stats
• 2013 – 51 rec, 845 yards, 16.75 avg, 7 TDs
• 2012 – 73 rec, 975 yards, 13.36 avg, 5 TDs
• 2011 – 53 rec, 754 yards, 14.23 avg, 2 TDs
• 2010 – 25 rec, 318 yards, 12.72 avg, 2 TDs