2013 NFL Draft: Justin Hunter Scouting Report

Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

There may not be one clear cut, unanimous top receiver in the draft. In previous years, this would have presented a problem, and it might have this year too- if there weren't a dozen possible candidates for a first or second day selection.

Justin Hunter is yet another talented player who has an injury history, something not uncommon in the 2013 draft. He's widely projected as a fringe first rounder who will likely fall into the second round, but could fall farther due to medical red flags.

Positives

Size: Hunter is the ideal size for a wide receiver at 6' 4". He has the ability to easily climb the ladder (he had the highest vertical jump numbers at the combine) and can catch difficult passes in the air. He would fit in well with the tall corners of the division rival Seattle Seahawks.

Speed: Hunter has a long stride which allows him to create separation easily and often, and has deceptive speed given his size. He ran a 4.44 at the combine, for reference.

Vision: Hunter displays good open field vision, along with above average awareness of how the play is unfolding (sometimes bailing out Tyler Bray). He likes to use open space to create yardage, and can break away due to his top speed.

Negatives

Acceleration: Hunter just isn't the same after his ACL tear. He has long strides and a good top speed, but don't let the numbers fool you. He played slow last year, much slower than he was once capable of. Whether or not he will be able to reproduce that athleticism is the biggest question mark to his game.

Aggression: Hunter shies away from contact too often. Instead of trying to beat defenders, he'll simply try to get around them and given his lack of elusiveness and athleticism, it doesn't work very well. He needs to bulk up and has a lean frame. Gaining muscle should help him defeat defenders on the line.

Consistency: One thing is glaring in Hunter's game above all else- he lacks discipline! cue your soundboards folks. He has the ability to make great mid-air catches, but then drops easy passes thrown his way. That can't happen in the NFL.

Conclusion

Hunter is a tantalizing prospect. When he's on his game, he has all the physical tools you look for: speed, size, jumping ability and good hands. When he isn't, he's a lazy, slow, weak receiver. Granted, some of that can be attributed to his injury, but Hunter needs to really put in the time in the weight room and after practice to improve his focus and strength.

Hunter has the possibility to be a great player in the NFL, but he needs to put in a lot of work to get there. The former is a possibility, and the latter is a necessity.

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