Devin Duvernay Is The Slot Receiver You Want In The 2020 Draft

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Today’s NFL uses slot receivers at a premium and has become a hot commodity. Here I will tell you why Devin Duvernay is the top slot option in the 2020 draft.


Devin Duvernay had a pedestrian career more or less during his Freshman to Junior years at the University of Texas. His Senior season though showed his enormous potential for the NFL. Duvernay broke out in a huge way in 2019 and is forcing teams to look his direction, especially those in need of a slot presence. Read further to see why Devin Duvernay is the best slot presence in this year’s draft.

NCAA Career

Freshman Year

Although Duvernay did not have eye-popping numbers in his Freshman season, for the team they were good. He played in all 1 games his Freshman year making two starts. He finished the season with 20 receptions for 412 yards, an amazing 20.6 yards per reception. The yards were second on the team while he tied for the team lead in touchdowns with three. Duvernay was also used in the return game where he showed very capable of doing so.

Sophomore Year

2017 was a tough year for Duvernay where he seemed like an afterthought in the offense. He was the most underutilized weapon for the Longhorns after showing great promise during his freshman season. Duvernay played in every game for the Longhorns but only registered nine receptions for 124 yards, a huge decline from his Freshman season. The Longhorns just needed to use him correctly, which they were not doing.

Junior Year

2018 showed to be another solid season for Duvernay. He put his Sophomore season behind him and ended up being second on the team in receiving yet again. He finished his Junior year with 41 receptions for 546 yards and four touchdowns. Duvernay had his best game of the season during an in-conference foe during a 42-41 loss to at the time #12 ranked West Virginia. He had six receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown during that game showing big game potential.

Senior Year

2019 made for a huge breakout for Duvernay. Duvernay earned All Big-12 first-team honors, an honorable mention for Big-12 Offensive Player of the Year, he was a semi-finalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award (recognizes excellence in Division I Offensive Players), and was named to the Biletnikoff Award’s midseason watch list. He finished 2019 with 103 receptions for 1,294 yards and eight touchdowns adding nine carries for 32 yards and another touchdown.

His 103 receptions and 8.6 receptions per game earned him the top mark in these categories among all FBS receivers. His 1,294 receiving yards ranked him fourth nationally and led all Big-12 receivers in catches, catches per game, yards, yards per game and third in touchdowns. He put up a career game against LSU, a favorite for the Championship Game, totaling 12 catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns, again showing potential against top-level talent.

Scouting Report

What Devin Duvernay Does Well

Duvernay showed great durability during his career playing in all 51 games. He stands in at 5’11 and 210 Lbs, built like a running. He is not built like your prototypical slot receiver, thinner and shifty, but more like a running back. His speed burst is that of a slot receiver and even better actually. He is on record clocking a 4.38-second 40-yard dash. Here is evidence of that speed burst during his game against LSU on one of his touchdowns on a simple slant:

As shown here Duvernay does his best work over the middle of the field but that does not mean he cannot line up outside. Duvernay’s speed is so incredible that he routinely uses single moves to burn defenders outside as you see here, look at the separation:

And again here:

Duvernay also does a good job tracking the ball and catching with his hands away from his body. Look at this highlight reel play where Duvernay makes the amazing touchdown reception:

One thing that really jumps out to me is the strength of Duvernay. As mentioned above he is built like a between the tackles running back. Because of this frame, he is able to make contested catches and receptions through contact. Watch this deep cross where he makes the reception, gets hit and hold on no problem:

Duvernay has legs like tree trunks and can run through defenders. If you really want to see an example of his strength, watch what he does here to the consensus top safety in the draft Grant Delpit:

Duvernay has quick feet and fluent hips that serve him well not only across the middle but in his outside moves. Duvernay also has the rare size that normally slot receivers in the NFL do not possess which is intriguing. I personally think that there will be a rise in strong-bodied slot receivers considering the type of routes they run and tackle-breaking will be a big key in a lot of these receivers game script.

What Devin Duvernay Can Work On

At Duvernay’s size and strength, you would think that he would be an excellent blocking receiver. From what I have seen though he does not seem to engage much in blocking. I think that we need to see a more nasty side in Duvernay at the next level. One more thing that I think Duvernay could work on is his patience. His skill set is built perfectly for bubble screens which he was used in often by the Longhorns.

He needs to show a little more patience in these screens. I have seen many cases where he makes the reception and just goes. He does allow his blocks to develop or holes. If he could have a little more patience and allow plays to develop than his speed burst can allow him to hit the hole like a menace instead of using it to run through safeties like Grant Delpit.

Pro Comparison- Deebo Samuel San Francisco 49ers

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Deebo Samuel was known for being a powerful receiver and an excellent route runner. He got the nickname Deebo by bullying defenders on the field, Like Deebo from the movie Friday. His size is incredibly similar to Duvernary checking in at 6’0 and 215 Lbs. while Duvernay is 5’11 and 210 Lbs. Both players are fantastic in the slot with superb route running and both make for a great red-zone presence.

Duvernay has shown more big-play potential during college with numerous long touchdowns but Samuel was not used on the outside as much as Duvernay has been. Samuel has shown that big-play potential more in the NFL. Samuel also was known as blazing fast but has been on record this season as one of the fastest on-field players multiple times.

Both players have the strength to fight through contact and keep plays going. Watch these two plays, Duvernay just makes a safety look weak shaking him off and Samuel fights through a safety en route to a score. Watch these clips:

And Deebo:

Deebo Samuel was a second-round pick for the 49ers and I think Duvernay can be just as successful. Duvernay needs to land in a good spot but he has the size, speed, and strength that can make him a very successful NFL receiver.

Conclusion

Devin Duvernay may be looked over a bit in the draft due to his 5’11 stature. He is never listed as a top-five or even a top 10 wide receiver prospect. What he does possess is a similar skill set to an already successful NFL rookie receiver as well as great college production, both slot and outside. The increasing need for slot receivers in today’s NFL could make Duvernay a hot commodity. In conclusion, I am giving Duvernay a 3rd round grade for the upcoming draft and he could have a productive NFL career.


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