According to analysts on Saturday’s College GameDay, Tennessee wide receivers Justin Hunter and Cordarrelle Patterson are all but set to leave the team and move to the NFL at the end of the season.
After the departure of Head Coach Derek Dooley, the Volunteers sit with an embarrassing 1-7 record, prompting a flurry of Juniors to consider declaration for the 2013 draft.
Quarterback Tyler Bray could be among those, and if so then he has gone out in style. He threw for 293 yards and 4 touchdowns against Kentucky, but is far from a polished player. His mechanics and decision making leave a lot to be desired, whilst his huge frame makes him fairly immobile. What he does have though is a huge arm that enables him to make all the throws to the two receivers Hunter and Patterson.
With rumours now spreading that they will be declaring for the draft, where do both players stand?
Hunter is listed at 6ft 4in, 200 lbs, and burst onto the scene in 2010, scoring 7 touchdowns in 13 games. He looked set for another big year in 2011, before a devastating ACL injury brought his season to a premature end. The 2012 season would see Hunter return, and observers were waiting to see how he could bounce back.
Whilst his body control is somewhat reminiscent of AJ Green, you can see that the injury has damaged his game. He’s still fast and can be explosive, but you see that he’s sometimes afraid of taking the big hits and tries to avoid contact.
“Justin has got to understand that playing receiver is not always clean and easy and that there’s a little grit that you have to do to get open. You’re going to have to get hit. Good receivers are going to make those kind of plays no matter what the circumstance. He’s not there yet.”
Derek Dooley, former Tennessee Volunteers head coach
He’s incredibly raw, but he certainly has the potential to be a true #1 receiver in the NFL. To my mind, he’s a true boom-or-bust selection, mainly due to his injury history and inconsistent hands. In fact, Hunter might not even be the best receiver on the Vols team anymore.
On the other side of the Tennessee offense, they have junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson. Only signed before the 2012 season, Patterson started after Da’Rick Rogers was dismissed for the team and he had a coming out party in his first start against NC State, notching two touchdowns in the process.
Patterson is another physical specimen, listed at 6ft 3in, 205 lbs. He’s got great size, blazing speed and the ability to go up and get any ball thrown his way. Due to his speed and ability in the open field, Patterson has taken handoffs via end around plays and taken them all the way for a touchdown – Patterson has three rushing touchdowns this year. He’s a pure playmaker that is probably impressing scouts more than Hunter right now. He does need to work on his hands and route running, but Patterson is a name I’d definitely keep an eye on ahead of the big day in April.
Both players will probably impress at the combine should they declare, and right now I’d predict that both will be Top-64 selections.
If they declare.