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Top Receivers in NFL Draft: Devin Duvernay

Texas’ slot dynamo, Devin Duvernay, checks in at No. 10 in our ranking of the top receivers in the NFL Draft.
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Texas’ slot dynamo, Devin Duvernay, checks in at No. 10 in our ranking of the top receivers in the NFL Draft.

Devin Duvernay was a slot machine.

In 2019, it was all jackpots.

As a junior, he lined up in the slot just 6 percent of the time and finished the season with 41 catches. As a senior, he lined up in the slot 96 percent of the time. It was total domination. Duvernay had a stellar final season with 106 receptions for 1,386 yards and nine touchdowns. He was third in the nation in receptions and second in receptions per game (8.1). In an early-season game against LSU, he caught 12 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns.

“The position change helped,” Duvernay said at the Scouting Combine. “We were pretty slot-heavy, a slot-friendly offense, so that contributed and being a better player, maturing and developing and being a better receiver.”

It wasn’t just the raw numbers, impressive as they were. He led the nation by reeling in 95 percent of catchable passes, according to Sports Info Solutions. He forced 23 missed tackles and finished fifth among our top 32 receivers by forcing a missed tackle every 4.52 catches, according to Pro Football Focus. While only 5-foot-10 1/2 with 30 5/8-inch arms, his contested-catch rate of 60.0 percent ranked fourth of our top 32. And he caught 12-of-21 passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield.

Duvernay was a Texas state champion in the 100-meter dash in high school. At the Scouting Combine, he ran his 40 in 4.39 seconds.

“You go deep, you go short, you get in the screen game, be in the backfield, things like that,” Duvernay said. “I like doing that, things to get the ball in your hands early, make a play, run after the catch.”

Athletics are in his DNA. His twin brother, Donovan, is a defensive back for Texas who will be a redshirt senior in 2020. Among other family ties are being cousins with Kyler Murray.

What we like

Duvernay is the quintessential slot receiver. He averaged an impressive 6.9 yards after the catch. “The anger he runs with once he has the ball in his hands and the physicality is so impressive for a slot receiver,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. Relayed that quote at the Scouting Combine, Duvernay said: “Just the passion I have for the game and being a competitor. Just competing and wanting to punish my opponent.”

What we don’t like

To some extent, his massive senior season was filled with a lot of fluff. He finished second in the nation with 42 receptions on screens, for instance. That part will translate to the NFL, since those are part of every team’s scheme. But can he be more than that? With proven production, athleticism and intelligence (he was a five-time member of the Big 12 honor roll), he’s got a chance so long as he tightens up his route running.

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Bill Huber’s Top Receivers

No. 1: Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy

No. 2: Alabama’s Henry Ruggs

No. 3: Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb

No. 4: LSU’s Justin Jefferson

No. 5: Baylor’s Denzel Mims

No. 6: Clemson’s Tee Higgins

No. 7: Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk

No. 8: Colorado’s Laviska Shenault

No. 9: USC’s Michael Pittman

No. 10: Texas’ Devin Duvernay

No. 11: Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool

No. 12: TCU’s Jalen Reagor

SI.com: The New Receiver U.