Tommy Streeter: “I feel like it’s always a mismatch”

Street Talk Tommy Streeter: “I feel like it’s always a mismatch”

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OWINGS MILLS —
Tommy Streeter bolted past a Virginia Tech cornerback toward the corner of the
end zone, elevating high into the air to haul in a touchdown pass on a fade
route.

Bigger, stronger
and faster than defensive backs, the towering University of Miami wide receiver
routinely accelerated away from the pack to gain separation during an
encouraging junior season.

The athletic
6-foot-5, 220-pounder did enough to convince the Baltimore Ravens to draft him
in the sixth round with the 198th overall selection.

"I feel like
it’s always a mismatch whenever I’m on the field," Streeter told 24×7 in a
telephone interview. "It’s rare to have a cornerback that’s big and
physical and fast. There might be a little guy that can run with you, but I
feel like when it comes time to match up with me in either one of those
departments, it’s rare to have the size and the speed and be a physical enough
player to cover me."

Streeter isn’t
exaggerating about his physical prowess. This isn’t your typical sixth-round
draft pick.

It’s unique to find
a wide receiver who has NBA shooting guard size who runs the 40-yard dash in
4.40 seconds with a 10-5 broad jump that can bench press 225 pounds 17 times.

"Tommy was the
best player on our board," Ravens director of player personnel Eric
DeCosta said. "We were excited about him. It’s unusual to get a receiver
with that kind of size who can run like that. These kinds of guys are rare at
times. If you have a chance to get a guy like that and you are in the right
position in the draft, it’s probably a good thing and he was the guy."

The Ravens envision
Streeter operating initially as an imposing red-zone target and deep threat to
complement starting wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. He’ll
compete for the third wide receiver job with Tandon Doss and others.

Streeter declared
early for the draft in anticipation of going much higher than the sixth round.

He thrived last
season in his lone year as a regular starter for the Hurricanes, catching a
career-high 46 passes for 811 yards and eight touchdowns. He won a Most
Improved Player award and was named second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference
by one publication.

"I kind of
thought I would get picked in the second round or third round," Streeter
said. "After those rounds went by, it got to the point where like, ‘I know
I’m not going to make it out of this round.’ Things weren’t falling that way. I
stayed next to my phone and kept watching the draft. It was out of my hands at
that point.

"I believe in
God and I knew I would be picked. I’m definitely excited to go to a team with
such great players and great coaches. I couldn’t ask for a better situation.
I’m ready to get in there and get to work."

The Ravens ended
Streeter’s anxiety, obtaining a downfield target with a ton of upside.

Streeter averaged
17.63 yards per reception last season after catching only six passes during his
first two seasons.

Streeter
acknowledged that his route-running can still use more polish and diversity.

"Yeah, I can
agree with that," said Streeter, who worked out privately for the New
England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins before the draft. "I wasn’t asked
to run all the double-moves and different routes due to the offense I was in. I
did what was asked of me. Everybody has a job or skill set different than the
other guys. The coaches took advantage of that.

"You bring me
in as a deep threat to stretch the field vertically. There are areas I can work
on, dropping my hips and working on my technique to explode out of my routes
and create separation. It’s a process. Going into the league, I’m excited for
the challenge. I just want to get better."

Once former Temple
coach Al Golden took over the Miami program, everything clicked for Streeter
after barely being utilized by previous coach Randy Shannon.

"I was given
an opportunity," Streeter said. "Coach Golden came in and, he had the
mindset of not basing anything off the old coaches or how the other staff felt.
He went off what he saw. I had the mentality to prove myself and got the
opportunity.

"Those guys
came in at the bowl game and watched practice. That was the time my opportunity
had begun from that moment. The coaches did a great job of pushing me and
trying to get the best out of me. Coach Golden does a great job of developing
you on and off the field and getting you mentally tough by conditioning your
mind to be a well-rounded young man."

That definitely
fits Streeter’s description. Streeter is deeply religious and his mother is the
pastor of a Baptist church in Hollywood, Fla.

"My faith is
something that’s very important to me," Streeter said. "It kind of
shapes and molds everything that I do. The way that I present myself in the
community and the kind of person that I am is all because of my faith. My
parents instilled positive things in me to make me a better man. I’m a humble
servant of Christ."

Streeter feels
fortunate to wind up in Baltimore.

The Ravens are the
defending AFC North champions. They have an established veteran in Boldin to
learn from. And they have a strong-armed quarterback in Joe Flacco who’s
capable of airing out long passes for Streeter to run under.

"It’s a great
situation for me to learn from those guys and be groomed by them and the
coaching staff to have success by giving me tips to take my game to the next
level," Streeter said. "It’s always exciting to have a guy like Joe
Flacco that has good arm strength and can get the ball out there and let you
catch the ball in stride and make big plays."

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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