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Receivers of the 2013 NFL Draft: I Want Justin Hunter in Houston

This is probably my last evaluation because the draft is right around the corner. I'm going to be blunt and acknowledge that Keenan Allen and much of the other top receivers in this draft are really souring in my rankings. The top receivers have all lost steam. DeAndre Hopkins has gotten into trouble for an alleged misconduct (maybe)? Also he failed to follow up his expected albeit disappointing 4.56 40 time. Keenan Allen has been bashed with injury concerns, drug concerns and now character concerns. Patterson has also interviewed extremely poorly based on what I've heard. Tavon Austin also reportedly scored a 7 on his Wonderlic. Not that the Wonderlic is an end-all test but it is a disturbing score none the less.

As of now I would be severely disappointed if we didn't land either DeAndre Hopkins, Robert Woods, or Justin Hunter. Austin and Patterson were already dangerous prospects now Allen must be grouped in there as well. I understand that there are some man-crushes on prospects like Ryan Swope out of A&M, Aaron Dobson of Marshall and many others. That doesn't change the fact that the only true difference makers in the entire draft (without the high risk of Allen, Austin and Patterson) are Robert Woods, DeAndre Hopkins and Justin Hunter. Patton is a straight #2, Y receiver or Z, I'm just as high on him as I 5 months ago (I'm sure I was the first to call how talented he was). Plain and simple. I really like Dobson, I really do. However he is raw and he isn't a first year difference maker, I just can't see it.

Anyways Justin Hunter is my official draft crush. I love Robert Woods and DeAndre Hopkins but so do a lot of people. I've had Hunter in my top 5 (Overtaking Patton) for awhile now actually. Anyway I'll preview Hunter and then roll with my updated top 10 at the very end (explanations later). Thanks for reading, comments are appreciated.

Justin Hunter (6'4" 205lbs, Tennessee)

I really like Justin Hunter. He is an amazing athlete. Great football player with experience. Great personality. The main thing I want to focus this article on is to ask a couple questions. Why is Justin Hunter so down in most draft outlets? To further that, what are Hunter's real weaknesses? The answer is he really doesn't have any. He is Keenan Allen but faster and more elusive. He isn't as tough underneath as Allen is, but he makes up for it by being a menace downfield like no other receiver in the draft. He has no real weaknesses, he is a little skinny but makes up for it with 4.3 speed. He has strong hands and a fantastic mechanic. Is one of the best blockers in the entire draft with probably the best technique. Great body control with fantastic length. He is a threat after the catch, deep and in the red zone. Justin Hunter is a two prolific starter. He is refined and ready to make an impact now and possesses major upside. He is said to have interviewed extremely well and in interviews passes as a humble, hardworking young man. Hunter has the composure of Andre Johnson and seems to be a very genuine human being. Hunter combines impeccable physical traits with great skills in addition to great character.

Physical Composite: 28/30

Height (5’9"/6’1/6’4+): 6

Size (205lbs 33.3in Arms): 4

Speed (4.7/4.6/4.5/4.4/4.3): 10

Vertical (Yes 39.5"): 4

Broad Jump (11’4"’): 4

Justin Hunter was essentially taller than 95% of all other receivers at the combine. Jumped higher and farther than 100% of players at the combine. Ran faster than 90% of players and his only real problem is his bulk. However his frame only really needs 10-15lbs. Not much and much of it would be for his upper body strength to further his prowess against press and to aid in blocking. Many think that Cordarrelle Patterson or Tavon Austin is the physical specimen among receivers. It's Justin Hunter.

Film Composite: 63.5/70

Route Running: 21/24

Release/Shed: 5/6

Fluidity: 6/6

Play Recognition: 5.5/6

Breaks: 4.5/6

Hunter is a fantastic route runner. He would be in the same class as Robert Woods and DeAndre Hopkins, if he weren't so tall. It's hard to make the cuts that Woods and Hopkins do if you're as tall as Hunter is. However he makes up for it with a smooth and efficient stride , excellent play recognition and being deceptively agile. His long arms are extremely proficient at deterring press coverage, as is his deep threat capability. He will need to add strength to handle NFL caliber defensive backs however the tools and technique are already there. Justin Hunter is a smooth athlete, he has Robert Woods' stride but longer. Hunter is a really smart player and it shows. He is keenly aware of his position on the field and understands defensive schemes. Hunter makes solid and precise cuts. They are what you would expect out of an NFL receiver but they are simply above average. His savvy and pure speed is what gets him separation

Catching: 9/10

Consistency: 6/7

Mechanic: 3/7

I don't think anyone in the entire class has a better catching mechanic than Justin Hunter other than DeAndre Hopkins. The common trait are there unhuman 33.3" arms. Hunter's catching radius is fully utilized and his hand eye coordination are in sync. He uses his hand and keeps balls away from defenders. Underneath he doesn't pluck the ball out of the air (a trait that really endeared me to Keenan Allen) but is a sound catcher. Could stand to improve consistency but is a solid pass catcher and rarely drops.

Body Control: 4.5/5

Very good body control. Can box out defenders in the endzone, track balls over the shoulder, and keep feet in bounds. Only second to DeAndre Hopkins.

Blocking: 4.5/5

Strength: .5/1

Willingness: 2/2

Technique: 2/2

Probably the best technique from a receiver I've seen. Hunter is a willing blocker that understands the critical points of blocking, position and leverage. Hunters long arms combined with solid technique usually means neutralized defenders in the run game. He's not going to blow up linebackers but he definitely knows how to get under defenders half a foot shorter than him and cut them off from the play. Could stand to improve strength.

Play Making Ability: 24.5/26

Deep Threat: 9

Red Zone Potential: 8

YAC: 7.5

He may not have the box out skills underneath similar to Quinton Patton and Keenan Allen that make them renowned for being tough receivers but Hunter has the toughness to fight for sailing balls downfield. He fights for and tracks the deep ball like no other receiver in this draft. Best deep threat in the class. He is a red-zone player. He fights and wins 50-50 balls and can run back shoulder concept plays. Hunter is as solid as can be after the catch. Similar to Andre Johnson. He will fight for extra yards and can outrun the defense should he get behind it. Hunter won't be caught from behind. Has a superb blend of vision. However Hunter lacks the sheer agility and change of direction that makes Patterson and Austin such superb prospects.

Overall: 93

Remember when I asked what Hunter's real weaknesses are? He doesn't have many, his main problems will come from lack of NFL strength (which can be easily addressed) and only slightly above average lateral quickness. He is the best deep threat in the entire class. Barring a major change in personality, he will be humble and keep his head down. He is a future number one receiver. He is a future star.

2013 Receivers Rankings:

1. DeAndre Hopkins (93)

2. Tavon Austin (92.5)

3. Justin Hunter (91.5)

4. Robert Woods (90)

5. Cordarrelle Patterson (89)

6. Keenan Allen (87)

7. Quinton Patton (86.5)

8. Aaron Dobson (86)

9. Stedman Bailey (85)

10. Markus Wheaton (84)

Notables:

Ryan Swope (83)

Rodney Smith (80)

Kenny Stills (81)

Chris Harper (82.5)

Terrance Williams (83.5)

Da'Rick Rodgers (87*)

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