STRENGTHS - Hunter is a smooth athlete with the speed to stretch the field vertically. When given a free release he runs fluid routes and utilizes good foot quickness and agility to gain separation out of his breaks. He has exceptional length and is capable of consistently winning contested throws with his ball skills in the air. He also flashes the ability to pluck balls away from his body. Prior to his knee injury he displayed elite/rare athleticism and reminded us of Randy Moss with his ability to make great catches seem easy and to make game changing plays running after the catch.
WEAKNESSES - Hunter has a thin frame and can get too upright at times which allows defender so get aggressive and reroute him off his break point. At times he is late getting his head around out of his break, and doesn't get his hands out in time to make catches. When running routes over the middle he tends to let the ball get into his body and misses too many easy catches. If things don't go his way early in games he tends to get visibly frustrated and let it affect his focus moving forward.
SUMMARY - I had huge expectations when I first sat down to evaluate Justin Hunter off 2012 film, as he has an outstanding combination of height, length and athleticism and was a dominant, game changing player on 2011 film. However, the more 2012 film I broke down the more I was underwhelmed with his play, as he was extremely inconsistent with his hands and his focus. While his agility and fluidity is impressive when running routes vs. air, he struggles to defeat the jam as he is not aggressive enough with his hands and tends to get upright and become a long-strider. Most concerning is how his demeanor changes when he doesn't get involved early, as he'll start to slump his shoulders and not play at full speed. Overall, Justin Hunter's case reminds me a lot of former Bills' star receiver Lee Evans who looked like a star and likely Top 10 pick as a junior at Wisconsin, but after his knee injury he looked like a shadow of his former self as a senior (Although Evans displayed the consistency catching the ball, toughness catching passes in traffic and great competitiveness as a Senior) in terms of explosiveness, speed and big play ability. So although, Hunter's struggles catching the ball and maintaining a high level of competitiveness in 2012 make me doubt he will ever return to his pre-injury form, the possibility cannot be discounted. If he works out well at the Combine or on his Pro Day do not be shocked to see a team in the late first round take a gamble that he will return to his previous form.