Justin Hunter WR Tennessee #11
Size/Athleticism: Elite height and impressive speed for a receiver of his height. Takes long strides and gets up to full speed quickly. Would benefit from adding some weight. Despite his height, he sometimes plays like a much smaller receiver because he lacks the strength to easily fight through press coverage. Has the speed and quickness to pick up extra yardage after the catch, but he sometimes tries to do too much. Hunter needs to know his limitations and cut down on the number of times he loses yardage after the catch.
Separation Skills: Elite height/speed combination makes him a dangerous weapon. He has the speed to stretch the field and also the size to consistently win jump balls. Surprisingly quick and sudden in his breaks for a guy of his height. Rounds off his breaks at times, another product of his lack of focus on the field. Overall, his route running needs polishing but he has all the tools to be elite in this area of his game.
Ball Skills: Very inconsistent hands. He has the athleticism to come down with some difficult catches, but he has issues with his focus and drops some easy ones. Has a tendency to double catch the ball, which will lead to even more drops at the next level when more of his receptions are contested. Basic fundamentals of catching the football are lacking. He frequently lets ball into his chest, has poor hand placement, or jumps unnecessarily while attempting to make a catch (see drop on 4th-and-4 at end of 2012 N.C. State for a great example). Does a nice job tracking the deep ball and adjusting to it in the air.
Intangibles: Shows an obvious lack of focus on the field. Mental mistakes were apparent in nearly every game in 2012 and played a significant role in Hunter falling well short of expectations. Became visibly frustrated on the field with poor throws from quarterback Tyler Bray.
Durability: Missed majority of 2011 season with a torn ACL.
Comments: Hunter is an extremely difficult prospect to evaluate. Do you focus on his elite talent? Or do you focus on the inconsistent play? He has all the measurables and raw skill to be an A.J. Green or Randy Moss type deep threat. But if he doesn’t correct the mental mistakes on the field he won’t be trusted by his quarterback and coaching staff. He is without question the most talented receiver in this year’s draft class, but it’s impossible to ignore his performance at Tennessee. For a player like Hunter, the interview process will be crucial to his evaluations. Each team will have to decide how comfortable they are with his dedication to correcting the mistakes.