You’ve got to do a little extrapolation if you’re going to fall in love with JuJu. Sandwiched in the middle of two modest seasons is his 1400 yard, ten touchdown sophomore effort of 2015. From what I’ve seen so far, he is a little bit tumultuous in a world where consistency is king.
Smith-Schuster is not as physical as you might expect, occasionally shying away from contact both at the catch point and getting off the line. He also generally has very little interest in blocking. I’m not going to draw in the narrative of USC receivers being predisposed to failure, but regardless of alma mater, JuJu has some holes in his game.
He does make some terrific adjustments while the ball is in flight, which quickly endears you to your quarterback. He has tremendous feet and awareness near the sideline- traits that come in handy as a possession guy at the next level. When defenders don’t get up and bother him at the line, Smith-Schuster gets open with regularity and has a good first step after a catch. He’s pretty good in traffic, but he shines brightest against zone coverage. He is patient and finds the holes in zones and sits down when he gets open.
There is definitely room for improvement and polish, but he’s so young that there is time for him to be groomed by the right coaching staff. I’m definitely not expecting him to burst on the scene in 2017, but there is a lot of upside with JuJu Smith-Schuster.