INDIANAPOLIS–The one position in this draft class at which there seems to be a divergence of opinion is at wide receiver. After talking to several personnel people, I got the strong feeling that this year’s wide receiver crop is a love it or hate it proposition. All of them said the same thing about the top of the class; it’s represented by A.J. Green of Georgia and Julio Jones of Alabama and they are clear-cut blue-chippers. It’s after those two that the divergence of opinion begins.
One NFC college scouting director praised the depth at the position and told me there are going to be a lot of hits at the position in the middle rounds. At the extreme opposite of opinion is a scout who told me there’s not much he likes after Green and Jones.
Where personnel men stand on the position seems to be triggered by where they stand on Pitt wide receiver Jon Baldwin, who is thought to be at the top of the next wave of wide receivers following Green and Jones. Baldwin is a tall, strong, immensely talented receiver who is coming off a disappointing junior season that was littered with drops and periods in which Baldwin disappeared from the offense for long stretches. Baldwin’s struggles can be traced to a quarterback who was in his first year as a starter and struggled in his own way.
One scout told me he thought Baldwin could turn out to be the headliner of the WR crop. Another scout wrinkled his nose.
Those teams wanting to fortify themselves at the wide receiver position will have their eyes on Baldwin when he works out on Sunday. He could make up ground with a top workout. The combine is the perfect platform for a player of Baldwin’s size, speed and leaping ability to zip up the board.
Another wide receiver with Baldwin’s upside potential is Maryland’s Torrey Smith. He possesses the same size, speed and athletic ability that Baldwin has and Smith is a top kick-returner, too. Did I say kick-returner? Hmmm.
Posted in Vic Ketchman Blog