New England Patriots Draft: Justin Hunter Scouting Report


That is not just a once off play either. Hunter approaches every snap in the same vain.

-Makes Receptions with his Hands
Cordarrelle Patterson has been the headline receiver for this draft class for much of the off-season. However, when contrasting Patterson to Hunter on the field, there is a night and day contrast in terms of how they catch the football. Patterson almost always catches the ball into his chest, while Hunter looks to snatch the ball from the air with his hands. With better quality defensive backs on the professional level, that could be a major advantage for Hunter in the evaluation process.

Hunter beat defenses in a variety of ways, whether it be running deep routes, slants, crossing routes or with the ball in his hands. His routes may still need to be polished, but his route tree is relatively varied and he has the ability to line up inside as the slot receiver.

Rarely did Bray give Hunter opportunities to fight defenders for the football in 50/50 situations, while his 12 bench reps at the combine were a worrying sign. He should be able to get stronger on the professional level, but that is not a guarantee as of yet. Dominating defensive backs in college without that strength is possible, but it's not often the case in the NFL.

-Inconsistent Hands
Hunter doesn't have bad hands by any means, but he did drop a couple of passes in situations where an average receiver would have comfortably corralled it. It is most likely a focus issue that won't severely hamper his impact on the field.

Hunter should be able to make an immediate impact in the NFL. It's impossible to know how he will understand the mental aspects of the professional game, but outside of developing greater strength and polishing his routes off, he has little else to work on.

Hunter should be able to fit into almost any NFL offense. He played both inside and outside in college and has the physical tools to make any receiver jealous. His size and athleticism is ideal because he should be able to stretch the field, while still being a possession receiver.

Hunter may not be your prototypical burner, but he is fast enough to force opposing safeties to stay deep while he also has the flexibility that Bill Belichick looked to get when he added Brandon Lloyd last year. Being built like Randy Moss would set expectations very high for the rookie, but in today's offense the Patriots wouldn't require him to be of that quality immediately.

Professional Comparison
Hunter's immediate physical built and presence on the field is reminiscent of Kenny Britt. Like Britt, his height doesn't take away from his overall athleticism, but rather it enhances it. Prior to tearing his ACL, Britt was one of the most dynamic outside receivers in the league and coming into his own as a starter.

While his physical tools are reminiscent of Britt, his all-around approach to the technical aspects of the game are similar to that of Emmanuel Sanders. Much like Sanders, Hunter works well to the football and can do a variety of things on the field whether it be different routes or lining up in different areas of the field.