Photo of DeVonte Christopher
Grade
70.9 ?

Draft Analysis:

  • 6'1" Height
  • 200LBS. Weight

Overview

The 2007 Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year at quarterback (3,265 passing yards, 44 touchdowns – the first time any Nevada passer had more than 30 in the regular season) for Las Vegas’ Canyon Springs High School signed with Utah with the idea of taking control of the Utes’ offense. But after running the scout team during his redshirt freshman season, coaches moved DeVonte (pronounced da-von-tay) to receiver to take advantage of his athleticism and get young passer Jordan Wynn in the lineup.


It wasn’t Christopher’s first time at the position, as he had earned all-conference honors as a high school sophomore. Still, he spent more time on special teams (338 kickoff return yards, 33 on punts) than as a receiver (two catches, 38 yards) while playing every game in 2009. The conversion paid dividends the following year, as he earned honorable mention All-Mountain West accolades by leading the Utes with 39 catches that covered 660 yards and six scores (including a season-opening 155 yard effort against Pittsburgh). He was again the team’s top receiver as a junior (42-663, 5 TD) despite missing two games with an ankle injury, finishing the year by scoring the game-tying touchdown late in the team’s overtime Sun Bowl win over Pitt (and also earning game Special Teams MVP honors by returning two kickoffs for 97 yards).

Analysis

Strengths

Looks like a NFL receiver, with height, long arms, and some obvious strength. Possesses strong hands, but they are soft when bringing in throws over his shoulder. Extending his long arms also makes it difficult to keep him from separating when he’s making his cuts. Works the sideline and the slot. Gets onto his man quickly in the three-step game, using his large frame to box out opponents on slants or fighting his way through the corner to win the sideline. Flashes the quick feet to separate on out routes and the sideline awareness to keep his feet in-bounds while making the catch; this is especially helpful when coming back to help his quarterback on broken plays. His height and vertical make him a real threat on jump balls over the middle and in the red zone. Uses his length and strength to negate defenders in the run game, usually bringing the attitude to punch and sustain.

Weaknesses

His straight-line speed will be a major concern for scouts, as better corners will stay with him down the seam and the sideline; that can lead to his disappearing for drives at a time. Body-catches passes instead of using his strong hands, and also loses some 50/50 balls that he shouldn’t given his size.

NFL Comparison

James Jones

Bottom Line

The Utes have relied on Christopher as a playmaker for four years, and he led the team in receiving the past two (42-663, 5 TD in 2011), even though he finished his high school career as a prolific passing quarterback. He must prove he has the straight-line speed to separate against NFL cornerbacks, but using his physicality and strong hands could earn him a mid-round pick even if he runs an average forty-yard dash times.
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Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.

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