Justin Hunter Scouting Report

January 31st, 2013

Justin Hunter often has serious issues catching the ball

QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF
Prospect: Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 200
Grade: 6.85 I(Grading Scale)

+Incredible athlete with size and speed combination, also has potential as a leaper
+Has long speed to go the distance with the ball in his hands and room to run or to win over the top
-Very lean of frame with a lack of strength and physicality
+/-Has untapped short-area quickness shown in flashes
-Tore ACL in his left knee in Sept. 2011 and missed the season, was not quite as top-end fast upon return in 2012

Route Running:
-Most routes lack precision, rounds of cuts instead of planting, double moves lack patience as well
+Shows a developed ability to leverage defensive backs away from the ball in the air with his body on deep throws
-Combats press coverage by simply trying to run around defenders, high number of wasted steps
-Too easily leveraged off his routes by physical corners, unable to counteract with strength of his own
-Shows tentativeness when running routes in traffic, clearly uneasy with contact

-Typical “body-catcher” who will allow the ball into his chest if possible
-Heavily plagued by concentration lapses as a pass catcher even when he catches the ball with only his hands. Has not learned the concept of looking the ball into his hands.
-Unable to win most 50/50 balls in the air, lack up upper body strength does him no favors
-Occasionally bobbles the ball and has to catch it twice after it hits his chest, allows defensive backs a window to get their hands to it
+/-Has an adequate radius with long arms, too inconsistent making catches while extended though
+/-Ability to supplement his size with ability to highpoint the ball as a leaper very rarely shown

Running/Return Ability:
-Efficiency after the catch inconsistent, will dance or go backwards too often
+Sudden feet after the catch with ability to make one man miss with some consistency
-Lacks the strength or frame to pick up tough yardage, occasionally goes down voluntarily to avoid hits
-More of a long-striding speedster and lacks the toughness to be an effective return man

-Very little experience as a run blocker due to prevalence of spread concepts
+Gives adequate effort as a downfield blocker, will sustain his blocks
+Emotional player, gives charismatic reactions after successful and unsuccessful plays
+If he gets involved in the passing game early on, his concentration and confidence are much higher

Justin Hunter’s game revolves around his athletic ability. That’s not all bad. It has hindered his ability to develop the nuances for the position like precise route running though. This means that he will have a clear adjustment period in the NFL, even though he’s still a better athlete than most defensive backs. Hunter’s lack of consistency will make him more of a big play type receiver than an every down security blanket. It may not be entirely realistic to expect a ton of improvement in his ability to reliably catch passes when he just doesn’t look comfortable using only his hands. Hunter looks like the kind of receiver who will end up relying on his quarterback much more than his quarterback will rely on him. His lack of physicality is a major issue that Hunter must overcome quickly, and that goes beyond beating jams and presses. IF he were a basketball player he would be a shooting guard that never does anything but shoot perimeter jumpers. Despite all the knocks on him though, he has the kind of size and athletic ability tons of players dream of. Drafting Hunter in the first round would be taking a big risk. If he’s not asked to be an every down, #1 guy as a rookie it will go a long way towards developing him into a top tier wide receiver.–Page/Risdon

Scouting Notes:

Tennessee vs. North Carolina State
• Varied success on two quick hitters, first he makes man miss and picks up extra yardage, second he tries to dance too much and goes backwards, losing yardage
• Feels first down marker well on third and short to make one move and get necessary yardage
• “Double catches” a dig route for a long gain
• Stumbles out of his break on a goal line slant and gains no separation, ball batted down by defensive back
• Wins on a deep post route by a step, does well to protect the ball from the defensive back with his body, unable to catch the ball with his hands extended away from his body
• Runs a quick hook route past the sticks on fourth and four, jumps unneccesarily and tries to body catch the ball, ugly drop

Tennessee vs. Missouri
• Makes safety miss in space to free himself up for open field yardage
• Shows ability as a leaper on sideline throw, sits on the route and goes up to get the ball over top of the defensive back, catches ball with his forearms though
• Bails Bray out of an interception by taking defensive back role and getting fingertips to the ball
• Stumbles off the line on a goal line fade and struggles to fight through the cornerback’s contact
• Runs a precise sluggo route on in the redzone but has disconnect with Bray on ball location

Tennessee vs. Georgia
• Not on the same page as Bray who assume he’s running a sluggo, Hunter seems to be running a route that can’t possibly have a name
• Lacks anticipation to time the block on the slot cornerback on a slot wide receiver screen to his side, whiffs
• Creates good separation with a quick break on a slant route and traps the ball to his chest with hands
• Unable to a slant pass thrown well behind him, would have been an incredible catch
• Takes a decent hit from Shawn Williams on an in-breaking route and is able to hold on

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