Devin Duvernay’s 2019 football season was one of the best in Texas Longhorns football history. In fact, statistically speaking, only one receiver in Texas history has had a better season than Duvernay. In 2009, Jordan Shipley had 116 receptions for 1485 yards and 13 touchdowns, eclipsing Duvernay’s 106 receptions for 1386 yards and nine touchdowns.
While Shipley’s 2009 season was the only season to better Duvernay in receptions and receiving yards, several Longhorns have bettered the 2019 leading receiver in touchdown receptions, including Shipley and Roy Williams, both of whom did it twice. In fact, Duvernay’s nine touchdown receptions tied for 32nd in the FBS for 2019.
While Duvernay’s did finish third the FBS in receptions and fifth in receiving yards, his overall statistics pale in comparison to Michael Crabtree’s 134-reception, 1,962-yard 22-touchdown performance in 2007, which still has the Longhorn Republic in tears at its mention, or Nevada alum Trevor Insley’s 1999 performance, in which he had 134 receptions for 2060 yards and 13 touchdowns.
There is one interesting Duvernay comparison that could give a picture of what role the Longhorn senior could play in the NFL. In 2003, Texas Tech senior Wes Welker had a total of 97 receptions for 1099 yards and nine scores. By comparison, Duvernay is better in every category.
Duvernay is 5-foot-11 and 210 pounds, arguably the perfect size for an NFL slot receiver. By comparison, Welker is 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, and perhaps the most recognizable slot receiver in the game right now, Julian Edelman is just 5-foot-10 and 195 pounds. Duvernay, who’s capable of running a sub 4.40 in the 40-yard dash, has the speed advantage over Welker, Edelman and former Patriots standout Danny Amendola, who all ran in the 4.6 range, in addition to being stronger and potentially more difficult to tackle than other standout slot receivers.
The biggest question for Duvernay is his quickness, however. Despite running a 4.38 40-yard dash at the 2016 college football player’s combine, Duvernay ran a 4.24 20-yard shuttle. This is almost a quarter of a second slower than Welker’s 4.01, and well behind Edelman’s 3.91 shuttle time. Amendola’s shuttle time was comparable to Duvernay’s, running a 4.22, however, his 40 time was 4.7 seconds, much slower than Duvernay, which means that although Duvernay offers more high-end speed than Amendola, they are about the same in a short burst and in change of direction.
With a need to replace both the aging Amendola (Detroit Lions) and Edelman (New England Patriots), Devin Duvernay is an interesting prospect. He could be a steal in the mid to late rounds of this year’s NFL draft. If he can impress with his quickness in the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle run, he would offer a viable option in the slot for either franchise, while adding something that the three above mentioned NFL standouts couldn’t – high end speed – which could add a deep threat from the slot in the passing game.
It will be interesting to see how the former Longhorn’s skills translate to the NFL.