Miami WR Leonard Hankerson established himself as the best receiver prospect on the South squad on the third day of the Senior Bowl. More than that, Hankerson's work this week has done plenty to put his name in the conversation among the better receivers available in the draft, non-A.J. Green and Julio Jones category.
Here's what Bucky Brooks said on NFL.com:
With his performance, Hankerson has elevated himself as one of the top wideouts in the draft. His combination of speed, route running and hands make him look like a potential No. 1 receiver at the pro level.
Doug Farrar praised Hankerson' hands and route running ability and notes that he plays well in traffic. Farrar added an interesting caveat to the Miami prospect's effectiveness:
I thought Hankerson was most effective outside, with a smaller, faster slot guy inside to take potential zone problems away with inside routes.
If you're thinking about Farrar's statement in the context of the Rams roster, think about him paired with Danny Amendola (even though Amendola isn't the fastest guy) or even Donnie Avery working from the slot. There are some similarities with Danario Alexander. Hankerson is smaller and runs routes better and is a little more sure-handed, though he struggled with his hands earlier in his college career. Alexander hurt his knee last year at the Senior Bowl, an injury that resulted in another surgery and him going undrafted.
Hankerson was already seen as a second or third round pick prior to this week. Now, it's hard not to wonder if his name won't be closer to Jonathan Baldwin's when the 2011 NFL Draft happens. If the Rams want a receiver early in the draft and can't land Julio Jones with the 14th overall pick, trading down to take Hankerson or Baldwin is definitly an option.
Of course, Boise State receivers Titus Young and Austin Petits continued their impressive week. We've talked about Young; Petits is a big possession receiver.