Draft Focus: WR Justin Hunter

We continue our look at potential draft picks by the New England Patriots. WR Justin Hunter from Tennessee is an interesting option for the Patriots. The Patriots are looking for a deep threat, a big wideout that will take the top off of defenses, and Justin Hunter fits that bill. Justin Hunter’s physical presence is very impressive, standing 6’4 and weighing 200 pounds. He will give New England that tall, big WR they have been missing in recent seasons, and provide QB Tom Brady with a legit, young deep threat. As a freshman in college, Hunter came out with impressive explosiveness, but in 2011 he blew out his knee ending his season in just the 3rd game of the season. In 2012, the season started out slow for Hunter, and many wondered if he would get back his full speed, but the season got better for Hunter, and at the combine ran a 4.4 in the 40 yard dash. He was impressive in the other drills as well, giving him one of the best workouts for the receivers.

College Stats:

2010: 16 receptions, 415 yards, and 7 touchdowns.

2011: 17 receptions, 314 yards, and 2 touchdowns.( In only 2.5 games)

2012: 73 receptions, 1,083 yards, and 9 touchdowns.

Justin Hunter improved in all his areas every season and was playing opposite Cordarrelle Patterson and was able to get his fair share of balls thrown his way. Hunter not only brings size to the table, but a deep threat for New England. He can run routes well, blocks good for a WR, and is a redzone threat. He has all the upside in the world, he reminds me most of A.J. Green, and with his potential, he can reach that level.

Strengths: His size. His ability to separate. Good quickness up the field. Great long strides up the field. Decent route runner, and good blocker. Played both X and Z receiver in college.( X WR goes down field more and Z receiver runs more routes in the short field.) Great jumping ability, and will be great at jump passes. Redzone threat. Great body control.

Weakness: Drops passes more then he should. Drops easy passes in big games. Doesn’t break tackles. ACL tear in 2011.

Justin Hunter is a 1st/2nd round draft pick.

To me, Justin Hunter is the best WR in this year’s draft, especially if he lands with a great QB who can utilized his skills.

Several teams have the WR on their radar, so if New England wants Hunter, they will have to take him in the first round. If they could trade up for an early 2nd round pick then maybe they can grab him there, but I would not chance it, seeing as many teams would snatch him very quickly in the 2nd. The best bet is to take Hunter with the first pick, because he is well worth it. Hunter fits what New England wants and needs in a wideout. He is big, a deep threat, redzone threat, can run routes, and can block, and New England loves that in their receivers, and expects it of them. Hunter has to cut down his drop passes, and if he does that, his upside is unlimited. Gronkowski, the tight end, is the best redzone threat the Patriots have right now, Hunter would fit with him perfectly, giving Tom Brady two redzone threats, helping New England to finish off more drives against physical defenses. He would also be good insurances if Gronkowski gets hurt, leaving Tom Brady with at least one redzone threat.

The chances the Patriots draft Justin Hunter on a scale of 1-10 (1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely) is a 9. The reason for the 9 is, if he is there when the Patriots pick, then I believe the Patriots will select Justin Hunter for all the reasons I just stated and then some. There is a chance if Allen, Woods, or Hopkins are available, New England might like them better, but I still believe they prefer Hunter the most.

 

 

 


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