Well, let's face it. This new entry will be in archives by this time tomorrow, but I'll write this anyway.
I was more than shocked when I heard this pick. I really wanted Anthony Costonzo at No. 21 and would have jumped for joy if they selected him, but I respected Scott Pioli's position of trading down to get a high third-rounder from Cleveland.
Being from Pittsburgh, I know all about Jon Baldwin. I have seen every game he has ever played here and I will do my best in telling you about him.
No research necessary when you see a guy play every week.
I'll start with the positives.
Baldwin is a stud—6'5'' with a 42-inch NBA vertical jump and 4.48 speed at 230 lbs makes him someone who is going to create fits for any defense.
That speed matches A.J. Green.
He has almost everything you look for, and if he comes along, he is almost a carbon copy of Plaxico Burress. He is a downfield threat who makes big plays. In his first two years, he played the "X" position and averaged 21 yards per catch. They switched him to "Z" and those stats went down.
He may not look it but he is a true deep threat.
He suffered at Pitt because the Panthers had a lousy QBs in recent years that could never get him the football. He is a hybrid of the type of WR the Chargers have taken in recent years and has the vertical speed the Raiders look for. If he reaches his potential, he'll become their No. 1, not Dwayne Bowe.
Now the Negatives.
Many ifs. He is very immature and naive. I think he will have a lot of problems learning the playbook and understanding defense reads and he could very much end up in Todd Haley's doghouse much like Bowe did. He has had off-field issues, he badmouthed a few coaches here at Pittsburgh, and doesn't show great aptitude or desire to be great
You have to wonder how badly he wants to be great.
I never thought of him as a Pioli guy, to say the least. All the intangibles that Pioli values do not show up with Baldwin, but I will say this: I am sure that they interviewed and did their research on him, so if they feel comfortable drafting him, then maybe he will fit—just don't expect him to start.
In the end, as a fan, I like this pick and he'll be the kind of WR they need. Forget about those 4.3 guys. Matt Cassel doesn't have the arm to throw deep anyway. Maybe they can grab a speed decoy at some point, but like Bowe, this kid can turn a short pass into a long gain. He is a typical "catch the ball and break tackles for 15 yards" guy much like Bowe, but he will go deep, and that is where he shines.
So where does that leave us? It leaves me thinking, is Pioli going to ignore the "leadership, high football IQ" guys for the great athletic guys, or is Baldwin the only guy he'll take a chance on and draft conservative the rest off the way?
I love Castonzo, but all in all, Baldwin could be a beast. The only problem is, will he ever reach that potential?
We are about to find out.