Tennessee junior wide receiver Justin Hunter tweeted "Declared" on Monday via his Twitter account (@justinhunter_11), indicating his intentions to enter the 2013 NFL Draft. Hunter currently ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 5 WR prospect and a possible top-50 selection.
Hunter led the Volunteers offense in receiving in 2012 with 73 catches for 1,083 yards and nine touchdowns, ranking among the SEC leaders in receiving. He became the eighth receiver in school history to record a 1,000-yard receiving season, finishing his career with eight 100-yard receiving performances.
One of the top high school recruits Derek Dooley was able to lure to Knoxville, Hunter is a good-size target and displays explosive footwork in and out of his breaks, which is probably his best quality. He isn't the most natural hands-catcher on throws away from his body and appears to battle streaky confidence due to his drops. Hunter has some durability concerns because of his lean build. He also tore his ACL in his left knee on Sept. 17, 2011.
A smooth, good-looking athlete with length, Hunter has a similar skill set as AJ Green, but he is not nearly as reliable and lacks the same burst and flexibility to create space. He has first-round talent, but the drops and inconsistency hurt his value, making it tough to trust him. Hunter has a high ceiling if he can refine several areas of his game and is worth a chance in the second round, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him go in the first round based on his upside.
Hunter's Tennessee teammates QB Tyler Bray and WR Cordarelle Patterson are also rumored to be considering entering the NFL Draft early, but haven't made an official decision.
Dane Brugler is an analyst for NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange.