Draft Stock Moves Up For Wide Receiver Justin Hunter

By DEEPI SIDHU, SportsRadio 610

HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – Are the Texans considering wide receiver Justin Hunter?  The Tennessee wideout is moving up among NFL prospects to as high as a late first-round pick.  The NFL Films’ senior producer Greg Cosell recently named Hunter as the “most physically talented receiver” on the board. The tall, lanky, speedy receiver has been often compared to A.J. Green, Randy Moss, and Julio Jones.

With two Tennessee wide receivers coming into the draft, much of the attention so far has been on the other first-round prospect, Cordarrelle Patterson, thus overshadowing Hunter.  Hunter’s performance at the NFL Combine created first-round buzz among wide receivers and brought his name back out into the forefront.  Hunter, 6-4 and 196 pounds, dazzled scouts with a 40-yard dash in 4.44 seconds, a 39.5-inch vertical jump, and 136-inch broad jump.  Hunter’s broad jump not only was the best among wide receivers at the combine, it also beat out Marquise Goodman, the Texas wide receiver who was a U.S. long jump athlete at the 2012 London Olympics.

In 2013 Hunter led Tennesse in receiving yards (1,093) and receiving touchdowns (9)  on 73 catches.  He started all 12 games in his third year after coming off ACL surgery in 2011.  Hunter is often criticized for his hands which seemed to be more unreliable after the surgery.  His blocking needs work as does his ability to make defenders miss, according to critics.  Despite his lanky frame, Hunter’s track background gives him an explosive speed, vertical leap, and natural athleticism that may nudge him into the first round.

“I like this guy a lot and I think he is certainly in the mix for the Texans at the end of the first round,” said Texans insider Nick Scurfield.

Could the Texans snag the physically-gifted Hunter with a first or second round pick? Hunter may be still on the draft board should teams decide to forgo the raw talent for a more polished receiver with better hands and refined route-running skills.

“He could be a very, very interesting pick at the end of the first round at 27 overall…The guy, in short, is an athletic freak…Physically, he’s got everything that you would want in a potential number one wide receiver.  The question is: his hands, his injury history, and is he a physical enough blocker?  We’ll see how the Texans feel about him,”  said Scurfield.

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