Doubts about his route-running ability caused University of Miami wide receiver Tommy Streeter to fall to the sixth round before the Ravens finally took a chance on the 6-foot-5 specimen with the 198th overall pick.
But what he lacks in refinement he makes up for with confidence, showing the same swagger made famous by countless former Hurricanes over the last 25 years. Running the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.40 seconds in addition to his impressive height, the raw Streeter views himself as a dynamic playmaker instead of a sixth-round pick without a guarantee of a roster spot in the fall.
“I feel like I’m one of those guys who can create a mismatch anywhere on the field with my size and speed,” Streeter told AM 1570 WNST on Saturday. “I consider myself to be a deep-threat receiver, a guy that can take the lid off of the defense.”
Streeter caught 46 passes for 811 yards and eight touchdowns in his redshirt-junior season after recording just six receptions for 156 yards in his first two seasons at Miami. The improvement prompted him to forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2012 NFL Draft, where he initially expected to be taken in the second or third round.
His measurables suggest a receiver with immense potential, but his limited body of work at Miami and lack of quickness getting out of breaks caused teams to pass on Streeter in search of more polished products. Averaging 17.6 yards per catch to lead the ACC among players with at least 45 receptions, Streeter vows not to forget the feeling of falling down the board as he tries to make an immediate impact for the Ravens.
“Over the course of just watching the draft, there were many teams that passed up on me and I thank God that the Baltimore Ravens saw something in me,” Streeter said. “They gave me the opportunity. Everything that I can do to make plays and help this organization, that’s what I’m going to do and I’m just ready to go out there and prove myself.”
General manager Ozzie Newsome made it no secret the organization was looking to add depth at the receiver position, but the Ravens elected to pass on such prospects as Georgia Tech’s Stephen Hill and LSU’s Rueben Randle in the early rounds.
Baltimore wide receivers not named Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith combined for just eight receptions and 110 yards in 2011, with former No. 3 target Lee Evans making only four catches in an injury-plagued season before being released in March. The Ravens hope Streeter can eventually emerge as the tall target to which quarterback Joe Flacco can look inside the 20-yard line.
With Boldin and tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta working the short and intermediate parts of the field, the Ravens have dreamed about a 6-foot-5 target being able to stretch the field for years. Streeter thinks he can be that guy for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
“Having Torrey Smith, it’s going to be a scary [having] two guys that present that big play, [an] ability to take the top off the defense,” Streeter said. “At the same time, I feel like in the red zone, I just create a mismatch all day down there.”
While the Ravens’ history of drafting defensive players from Miami is known around the NFL, they have rarely counted on offensive standouts from the Florida school, with former running back Willis McGahee the only Hurricane of note contributing on the opposite side of the ball. McGahee was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills in 2007 and spent four seasons in Baltimore.