Deontay Burnett

USC
WR

Prospect Info

College
USC
Hometown
Class
- -
Junior
Height
Weight
Arms
6' 0"
186 lbs
31 1/2”
Hands
8 5/8”

Prospect Grade

5.39
NFL Backup or Special Teams Potential
How We Grade
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On signing day 2015, Burnett changed his commitment from Washington State to USC, his hometown school (Compton, Serra High). He had to "blue-shirt," or wait to get his scholarship later than others to keep USC under their limit for the year. But he saw the field immediately as a true freshman, playing in 12 games as a reserve, catching 10 passes for 161 yards. Burnett broke out in the second half of his sophomore year, starting the final five games as a third receiver, playing fast, being slippery in his routes, and catching any throw in his vicinity. In 13 games, he managed 56 catches for 622 yards and seven scores (also was 3-31 rushing, 4-26 punt returns). His performance in the Rose Bowl really got him on the national radar, winning All-Bowl team honors after making 13 receptions for 164 yards and three touchdowns in the Trojan's victory over Penn State. Burnett built on that success as a junior, receiving second-team All-Pac-12 notice from league coaches by leading USC with 86 receptions for 1,114 yard and nine touchdowns.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Rounds 5-6
NFL Comparison
Harry Douglas
Overview
Standard issue slot receiver with a thin frame but above-average toughness when it's time to make a catch and move the chains. Burnett doesn't have the size or separation speed for frequent work down the field and may be better suited to a role as a possession target. Burnett lacks play strength and may need to compensate by learning to create space for himself through a more leveraged approach as a route-runner. He lacks high-end measurables but could become a decent WR3 in a spread-oriented attack.
Strengths
  • Athletic with plus foot quickness
  • Has some workable acceleration from breaks that opens throwing windows
  • Nifty toe drop talent near sideline to ring up the catch
  • Good twitch in hands
  • Can pluck it and tuck it near traffic
  • Tougher than expected for his size
  • Faces down punishment inside the numbers and comes away with the catch despite the hits
  • Recognizes when he can cheat upfield before the catch gets to him against underneath zone
  • Nifty open field operator after the catch
  • Active scrambler who works well with Darnold to uncover in improv situations
  • Tracks it over his shoulder on corner routes
  • Good work ethic to improve
Weaknesses
  • Improved his routes, but they still need some work
  • Plays at angles that allow defenders ball opportunities
  • Rail-thin frame has limited potential to add mass
  • Will have to learn to play around contact more frequently
  • Quicker than fast
  • Coverage stays connected to him on the third level
  • Gets bodied into incompletions on 50-50 balls
  • Pushes off at the top of his route rather than attempting to influence coverage through route fake

News

Path to the Draft

Final quick-snap 2018 NFL Draft grades for all 32 teams

Best and most worrisome picks from the 2018 NFL Draft

Winners and losers from Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft

Winners and losers from Rounds 2, 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft

GRADE
9.00-10
Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99
Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99
Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49
Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49
Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99
Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49
NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99
Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
NO GRADE
Likely needs time in developmental league