Photo of Justin Hunter
Drafted By: Titans
  • Round 2
  • Pick 2
  • Overall 34

Combine Results

Grade
81.8 ?
  • 4.44 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 39.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 136.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 4.33 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"A lot of people had a first-round grade on this kid. He can make immediate production outside the numbers and in the red zone. The questions are drops and physicality." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'4" Height
  • 33 1/4" Arm Length
  • 196LBS. Weight
  • 9 3/8" Hands

Overview

Hunter's height, striding speed, explosive leaping ability and easy hands make him an exceptional vertical threat able to take the top off of any defense –- but only when he's on the field. The Volunteers looked like they were on their way to a prolific 2011 season after putting up more than 40 points in each of their first two games. But Hunter tore his left ACL in game three and the team's offense scored just 92 points in eight conference games without him (and with quarterback Tyler Bray also not himself throughout most of the season). The Vols' struggles continued in 2012, and even though Hunter started the entire season, his setbacks weren't as much physical as they were mental.


The Virginia high school All-American and winner of the high-jump competition at the 2010 USA Junior Championships combined with fellow sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray for big yardage against Montana (six catches, 146 yards, touchdown) and Cincinnati (10-156, TD) before the injury. This was no surprise given the flashes of playmaking brilliance he showed while making the SEC coaches' all-freshman squad in 2010. Hunter played in all 13 games, starting twice, in his first year on campus; his 16 catches covered 415 yards (a stout 25.9 yards per reception) and seven touchdowns. After returning from injury in 2012, Hunter started all 12 games opposite fellow junior Cordarrelle Patterson, hauling in 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns on 73 catches. That total could have been much higher, as Hunter's usually reliable hands seemed to fail him the entire season.

Analysis

Strengths

Prototypical height for an outside NFL receiver, though he will line up in the slot to test defenses over the middle. Straight-line speed appears more than sufficient for his size, can burst past corners down the sideline, and long strides that make it difficult for cornerbacks to recover once beaten. Varies his speed in routes to put defenses off balance, can accelerate with good foot quickness after a lull to create separation on digs and seam routes. Despite his size, possesses enough of a shimmy off the line to lose cornerbacks. Soft hands make him able to snatch throws in front of his frame or over either shoulder; will be threat on jump balls with his height and leaping ability.

Weaknesses

Has a limited number of snaps under his belt, needs to prove his hands are consistent when tested in a full season as a starter. Missed most of his second season with a torn left ACL. Must continue to get stronger throughout his frame to win battles at the line of scrimmage and break away from NFL tacklers. Blocking on run plays is inconsistent at best, shows little physicality in that realm.

NFL Comparison

Roy Williams

Bottom Line

Tennessee's tall strider looked to be on his way to a breakout year (17 catches, 314 yards, two touchdowns in just over two games) in 2011 before tearing his left ACL. He missed no time in 2012, but Hunter apparently lost his reliable hands that were a staple of his game prior to the knee injury. It was confusing to watch, since many of the junior's mistakes were mental rather than physical limitations.
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Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.

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