Earlier this week, we kicked off our annual NFL Draft Prospect Q&A series by hearing from former Wisconsin outside linebacker Joe Schobert.
Today, we’re going to turn our attention to the offensive side of the ball and hear from Packers draft prospect and former Stanford wide receiver Devon Cajuste.
Finding a talented downfield wide receiver in the draft is a likely scenario for a Green Bay Packers team that struggled to get consistent big-play production from their receiving corps in 2015.
Towering at 6-foot-4 and 227 pounds, Cajuste was a big downfield target in the Cardinals offense for three straight productive seasons in college. A stretch that amassed him 89 receptions for 1,582 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns, not to mention a 17.77 yards per catch average that highlights his ability to make big plays in the passing game.
Playing in a pro-style offense, Cajuste’s impressive production and ability to make tough contested catches against some of the best defensive backs in college football has drawn some notice from NFL scouts and draft analysts, alike.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein believes the former Stanford wideout is a solid mid-round pick in the draft and a guy versatile enough to play on the boundary, in the slot, or even add weight and transition to tight end at the next level.
The Packers could use a versatile offensive weapon like Cajuste on their roster, and he could be a guy Green Bay considers selecting come draft day.
Considering this, I recently reached out to Cajuste to get his thoughts on his game and his fit at the next level.
He was kind enough to take the time to talk to me about what he brings to the field as a wide receiver prospect and how he’d feel about playing in Green Bay.
Devon Cajuste Q&A
Q. First, tell us a little bit about yourself. Where did you grow up and how did you first get into playing football?
DC: I grew up in Seaford, New York. I started playing football when I was ten years old and the main reason was because I wanted to make my parents proud. I didn’t even like the sport at the time, but it didn’t matter to me.
Q. Did you play any other sports besides football growing up? If so, how has that helped you become the football player you are today?
DC: I played seven other sports–basketball, baseball, track, swimming, lacrosse, wrestling, and soccer. I have always been around sports my whole life. I think by being involved in several different fields gave me a bit of an edge to learning football. All sports are connected in one way or another, but by playing the other sports it has enabled me to gain skills that I might not have attained if I just played football.
Q. You’ve had a nice career at Stanford. What has your time there meant to you?
DC: Being at Stanford really opens your eyes to the world that’s out there. There are so many different kinds of people out there doing many different things that you almost don’t believe that this can all be happening at once! It has been special to me because of the growth it has enabled me to have. Coming in as a young player with one mindset and being molded and trained into learning about another was great.
Q. Do you have a favorite game or moment playing for the Cardinals?
DC: My favorite moment might have been this last regular season game against Notre Dame, having a career high against them and having my friends and family there to watch. It was euphoric and kind of unbelievable that that was it. It was my last game as a Cardinal in Stanford Stadium.
Q. Describe your style of play. What do you feel are your strengths as a wide receiver?
DC: My strength by default is my size over corners and my hands, which I know is in the job description, but that really matters. The speed I have for my size is also a strength, and finally, my blocking capabilities.
Q. What makes you unique at the position?
DC: What makes me unique is that I can be out wide to line up against corners, but then I can also line up in the slot to create a mismatch against bigger players like linebackers. This requires two completely different body types and styles of play, but I can be a hybrid and play both well.
Q. What do you feel is the most underrated aspect of your game?
DC: The fact that I can run downfield and be a deep threat. People don’t think I’m fast or that I can shake a defensive back. I feel like I do that pretty well for someone of my size.
Q. Are there any NFL players (past or present) you study, model your game after, or feel you draw comparisons to?
DC: I don’t watch TV or the NFL, which I know is weird, but If I had to choose a player, I wish I could be a Julio Jones because we have the same size and stature but he is far greater athlete then I am. However, I still shoot for his stats and aim to be like him on the field.
Q. With the draft only a couple of months away, what areas of your game will you be working on improving this spring before the draft arrives?
DC: All of it, to be honest, haha. But to narrow it down to a few things, I’m working on improving the top of my routes, my flexibility, and my overall speed and agility.
Q. The Green Bay Packers may look for a wide receiver that can make plays downfield in the draft this spring. Do you feel you could fit this mold?
DC: I believe I can make plays downfield. I finally got a chance to this season, which was great for me to see and feel.
Q. How would you feel about playing for a team like the Packers, if it came to that?
DC: It would be such an honor and a blessing to join the Packers!
Q. What could you bring to the Packers’ offense?
DC: I feel that everyone is great in the NFL, so the major variable for me would be to create mismatches on the field.
Q. The Packers drafted your former teammate, Ty Montgomery, last year and he’s shown some promise already. What would it mean to you to reunite with your former teammate and catch passes on the same team once again?
DC: It would be awesome to play on the next level with my brother. We both have had the same dream since coming to Stanford and have worked very hard to get there. To finally achieve this goal and be back on the same team would be awesome! What more could you want then to play with family.
Q. Regardless of who drafts you, what will that moment mean for you when you finally hear your name called and you’re officially in the NFL?
DC: I did it. All the time, work, sweat, blood, pain, and failures meant something. They were worth it. It will mean that what I have been doing wasn’t for nothing, but that this is only what I intended. Now to excel in the NFL, that’s an entirely different feat.
Q. Tell us a little more about yourself. When you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time?
DC: On my free time I like to work at the Stem Cell Lokey building on Cancer research specifically curing lung cancer, but I also work with colon and pancreatic cancer. Additionally, I like to cycle on the weekends or go for hikes.
Q. Finally, is there anything else you’d like Packers fans to know about you before I let you go?
GO Pack GO!