Much attention has been paid to the weaknesses throughout the Buffalo Bills’ defense during the 2015 NFL season, but heading into the 2016 offseason the team will need to make upgrades along the offense as well. Under Greg Roman, wide receiver Sammy Watkins has emerged as a game-changer at the wide receiver position, but injuries suffered to Percy Harvin, Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods have exposed the lack of depth and sure talent the Bills have on their depth chart. Today, we’ll take a look at Stanford wide receiver Devon Cajuste.
Devon Cajuste Size/ Physical Attributes
Devon Cajuste has great size for the wide receiver position, measuring in at 6’4” and 234 pounds at the 2016 NFL Combine with 33” arms and massive 10 ¾” hands. He tested well for his size, running a 4.62 40-yard dash with a 1.60 second 10-yard split and showed ridiculous quickness, running a 4.20 second 20-yard shuttle and a 6.49 second three-cone, the fastest time in a decade.
Over the last two seasons, Devon Cajuste caught just 61 passes for 940 yards and nine touchdowns, but it’s important to remember that Stanford’s offense was centered around running back Christian McCaffery, a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2015.
Devon Cajuste has prototypical size and quickness of an NFL-caliber wide receiver, but he’ll need to prove that he can be more than a second or third receiving option within an offense, as he was with the Cardinal.
Devon Cajuste Route Running/ Separation
Devon Cajuste didn’t run a full route tree during his time at Stanford, typically running go’s, hitches and slants with the occasional post or corner route. However, during the Shrine Game practices and the NFL Combine, he looked fluid running various routes, showing good, quick footwork and the ability to get in and out of breaks smoothly.
While Cajuste isn’t going to be a field-stretcher at the next level, he does show good acceleration on vertical routes, as you can see in the following play against Notre Dame. Lined up in the slot to the left of the offensive formation, Devon Cajuste runs a go route against zone coverage. The safeties are in the box while the cornerback defending Cajuste doesn’t appear to respect the deep ball. Cajuste gets on top of both the safety and cornerback, forcing them into trail positions before tracking the ball and making an impressive over-the-shoulder grab inside the red zone.
In the same game, Devon Cajuste is in a trips formation to the bottom of the formation. He runs a go route and the defenders blow their assignment, letting him get wide open down the field, showing the ability to turn his body, track the ball and secure the catch.
He’ll use his quick feet with a savvy head-fake to get separation on vertical routes as he does in the following clip. However, quarterback Kevin Hogan is sacked and Cajuste’s great selling of the go route is for naught.
Devon Cajuste shows a good understanding of spacing and coverages, consistently finding green grass when working the middle of the field on crossing routes. Against Oregon, Cajuste is aligned in a tight split to the top of the formation. He gets upfield while working across the formation, separating from the linebacker while having a cushion between himself and the safety. He makes himself an easy target for Kevin Hogan, who connects for a 20+ yard gain.
Devon Cajuste Hands/Body Control/ Yards-After-Catch
NFL teams will certainly be intrigued with Devon Cajuste’s size and ability to make contested catches in the red zone or third-down situations. According to RealFootballNetwork, all three of Cajuste’s 2015 touchdowns came in the red zone and he dropped just two passes on 41 targets. Devon Cajuste routinely shows the ability to catch the ball away from his body, using his 10 ¾” hands to pluck the ball out of the air at its highest point.
In the following play, Devon Cajuste is running a post against zone coverage. He finds himself wide open, but the throw from Kevin Hogan is a bit off target. Cajuste leaps, extending his arms and manages to grab the ball while getting his foot in bounds for a huge play.
Devon Cajuste also shows the awareness to turn upfield and try to pick up extra yards after the catch, as you can see in the following play from the Shrine Game. Cajuste runs a comeback route, catches the ball with his hands, breaks the tackle attempt by the corner and picks up another chunk of yards before being brought down.
Potential Fit with Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have made it clear that they want to add another wide receiver that can attract some coverage away from Sammy Watkins. While they’ve stated that they want that receiver to be able to stretch the field and threaten opposing defenses vertically, they could also use a receiver in the mold of Devon Cajuste—one with great size, reliable hands and quickness—that can be a go-to option in crucial situations.
Cajuste didn’t have a high volume of targets throughout his career that allow for eye-popping statistics that some of the other receivers from spread offenses have, but he comes from a pro-style offense and shows a toughness, especially in the run game, that coaches will love.
Devon Cajuste will likely never be a coverage-dictating wideout in the NFL, but he has the potential to be a reliable No. 2 option that’s a redzone mismatch.