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Is former Vol Justin Hunter the top overall WR in the NFL Draft?

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Several analysts have former Tennessee star Cordarrelle Patterson as the No. 1 wide receiver on the board. But Patterson is neck-and-neck, and behind, according to some, his own former teammate Justin Hunter.

NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell is one who thinks Hunter is the top pass catcher in the draft. Cosell thinks Hunter is the “most intriguing” and “most physically talented” receiver on the board – above Patterson.

“(Hunter) is, without question, the most explosive as a route runner with his long body, route fluidity, vertical speed and playmaking ability at the catch point,” Cosell writes on Yahoo!’s Shutdown Corner blog.

There’s really no argument that Tennessee has two of the top five receivers in the draft in Hunter and Patterson. And let’s not forget about Da’Rick Rogers either, who transferred to Tennessee Tech before the season started. Wide Receiver U?

Patterson is definitely rawer and more physically talented as a playmaker after the catch, but Hunter is probably a more polished receiver with enviable measurables and a chance of a higher ceiling. Hunter posted a crazy 39.5 vertical, 11-4 broad jump and 4.40 40, and we haven’t event talked about his 6-4, 200-pound frame yet.

Hunter returned in 2012 from an ACL injury suffered against Florida in 2011 and still went for over 1,000 yards on the season. In fact, he notched 73 catches for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns, but despite the output, Hunter played boring at times, dropping several simple catches and showing mental mistakes.

Hunter has been compared to both Randy Moss and AJ Green by NFL scouts, because of his height, length and movement.

However, based on what I saw in 2012, I would prefer Patterson over Hunter. Hunter, at times, seemed hesitant going up to make the big play. That may have something to do with his surgically repaired knee, but Patterson is the better playmaker of the two. Teams can put Patterson returning punts and kicks, in addition to receiver. Hunter is a pure receiver, but with a superior ceiling.

Both are billed as future Pro Bowl caliber players, and teams can’t go wrong drafting either player. It will be fun seeing how this draft order shakes out between two former teammates.

Photo credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE





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