Jonathan Baldwin, WR, Pitt Panthers
40-Time: (NFL Scouting Combine Time Feb. 23 - Mar. 1 to be added)
I'm sure if you ask any of the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL if they could find use for a 6'5 wide receiver who possesses a 42" vertical and track speed, you'll receive 32 yes responses.
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Baldwin is a red zone dream, but it's not just limited to the red zone. Anytime you have a one-on-one matchup to Baldwin's side of the field, the lob pass is in play. If Jonathan gets separation, then his long strides give him the speed to take it the distance.
The average height of an NFL cornerback is roughly 5'11. Baldwin will already have a 6 inch height advantage on any lob pass and that's before you factor in the fact that he can jump over 3 and a half feet in the air. If you give a 5'10 receiver that type of vertical it becomes a challenge to stop him from bringing down any pass. It's almost impossible to stop someone who's 6'5 with that type of leaping ability.
Baldwin's strengths play into his weaknesses, though. Due to the god given talents he was blessed with, he tends to depend on them too much. Baldwin, who has a basketball background, plays more like a small forward than the power forward a receiver needs to be.ty..
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What I mean is when the ball is up in the air and the corner's in the vicinity, he doesn't go up fierce after the ball. Instead he plays it soft and can be taken out of the play by much shorter defenders. If he plays this way in the NFL, the physical corners will bully him up and down the field and it'll hang his quarterback out to dry.
He has great speed, but doesn't know how to use it. His routes are so sloppy that much slower corners are still able to hang in his pocket. Running bad routes and not being physical isn't a good combination in the pro game.
Baldwin also relies on his leaping ability too much as well. He'll jump up on passes he doesn't have to and becomes comfortable to let the ball into his bread basket. The extra half a second that passes when he doesn't catch with his hands and instead lets it inside the body can be the difference between a completion or not.
On the deep ball he has difficulty adjusting to a ball that isn't on the same trajectory as his route. Instead he usually appears clumsy and takes a bad angle when he makes adjustment on the ball.
Jonathan went to Pitt after being a standout in three sports at Aliquippa High School in Pennsylvania. He won titles as a track star in the 400 meters relay and also averaged over 21 points on the hardwood. His performance on the basketball court earned him national attention from D-1 schools and scholarship offers from the likes of Marquette.
Baldwin follows in a long line of Aliquippa H.S. alum that went on to football excellence at Pitt. Mike Ditka and Darrelle Revis also took that path before going on to stellar past and present good fortunes in the NFL.
Baldwin has all of the physical tools to become a Randy Moss type player, but if he doesn't develop his game at the next level he'll just become the next prototype following in the path of Ramses Barden and James Hardy in the past few drafts.
Potential NFL Team, Round
Due to his rare abilities, I believe that Baldwin has a chance to sneak into the bottom part of the 1st round, but teams could find his flaws too much and he could begin to slide. The Seattle Seahawks could look at Baldwin as high as 25 to pair with Mike Williams.
If he slides into the 2nd round I have to believe that the St. Louis Rams with the 47th overall pick would have to take him if they haven't drafted receiver already.
In between, the Atlanta Falcons (27), New York Jets (29), Chicago Bears (30), Buffalo Bills (34), Cincinnati Bengals (35), Cleveland Browns (37), and Washington Redskins with the 41st pick overall could take the 6'5 wideout. In Atlanta he could play opposite of Roddy White and not have so much pressure on him. The Jets would love to develop him slowly or if they don't resign all of their big receiving threats, he could become their replacement.man.
I really like Baldwin to Chicago to be Jay Cutler's new Brandon Marshall. Buffalo, Cincy, Cleveland, and Washington would all be hoping that they could develop Baldwin into something closer to Randy Moss than James Hardy.
Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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