Justin Hunter: How Will Titans' Newest Wide Receiver Fare in the Pros?

Ryan McCrystalFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 31:  Juston Burris #11 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack breaks up a pass intended for Justin Hunter #11 of the Tennessee Volunteers at Georgia Dome on August 31, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

With the 34th pick in draft, the Titans select Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter. The pick was acquired from the 49ers in exchange for picks No. 40 and No. 216 and a 2014 third-round selection.


Pro Outlook

Hunter is the most talented receiver in this year's draft and compares favorably to Bengals receiver A.J. Green. 

However, after missing almost the entire 2011 season with a torn ACL, Hunter returned in 2012 and put together an inconsistent season. He struggled with drops and often appeared to lose focus on the field, demonstrated by his lazy route running.

If Hunter realizes his full potential, he will be an elite receiver, but based on his junior-year performance, that is far from a guarantee.


Fantasy Outlook

Hunter will be a late-round sleeper in fantasy drafts, but he'll have to compete with Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt for balls in Tennessee's offense. 

Considering his size, Hunter could become a go-to target for Jake Locker in the end zone.


Roster Outlook

It will be interesting to see how the Titans juggle their receivers. Britt, Wright and Hunter are all better on the outside, and Nate Washington has done a nice job in the slot for them in recent years. 

Given his size, moving Wright inside to the slot would make sense, but he's at his best as a deep threat on the outside. 

If Wright can't smoothly transition to a role in the slot, it could create a log jam on the outside and cut into playing time for all three outside receivers. 


Pick Analysis

This pick is all about Locker. With three first-round receivers, a revamped offensive line and a solid running game, Locker can't make any excuses. The Titans have surrounded him with all the talent he needs to succeed. 

While Hunter is a boom-or-bust prospect, I like the gamble given their situation at quarterback. If he lives up to his potential, he will help Locker immensely. 


Grade: B+