Who is the draft's third best WR?
While first-round locks A.J. Green and Julio Jones get most of the pre-draft hype, Baldwin joins an athletic group of receiving prospects that includes Kentucky's Randall Cobb, and Maryland's Torrey Smith vying to be the next receiver off the board behind Green and Jones
I don’t think Baldwin is a bad kid, I just think he needs to be put around some professionals and he will learn the ropes quickly....has the makings of a true number one wideout in the NFL and worse case a very good number two who can make plays down the field. Could end up being a steal for a team if he falls to round two. - Wes Bunting http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Who-is-the-drafts-3rd-best-wideout.html
In the latest mock draft from ESPN's Todd McShay, Baldwin is the fourth receiver taken in the middle of the second round, behind Green, Jones and Cobb. Here is a summary of Scouts Inc.'s pre-draft report on Baldwin:
"Elite [ball skills]. Displays natural and strong hands and catches the ball away from his frame. Body control is excellent and can make tough catch outside of frame look easy. At his best catching the ball up high where he can use his long arms and ability to elevate. Tracks the deep ball effortlessly and will cause matchup problems in one-on-one jump ball situations. Flashes ability to pull in acrobatic one-handed catch."
According to Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc., Baldwin must continue working on his route-running at the pro level. But Baldwin's physical tools are impressive. He has drawn comparisons to fellow Pittsburgh alum Larry Fitzgerald, whom Baldwin has worked with leading up to the draft. http://espn.go.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/26083/could-baldwin-be-afcns-secret-weapon
Jon Baldwin is an enormous wide receiver, measuring 6'5" 225 pounds. This big frame has many scouts and observers crazy over his potential. During his time at the University of Pittsburgh, he established certain things he does well on the field. Often compared to Brandon Marshall, Vincent Jackson, and Plaxico Burress, a big guy who is an excellent leaper to win jump balls. Unfortunately, he didn't have the great combine everyone expected. He ran a 4.52 40 (rumored to be a 4.35 threat) and fell down during one of the receiving drills.
Baldwin broke loose as a sophomore, dominating his team’s conference and establishing himself as one of the league’s top young pass catchers with over 1,100 yards through the air and eight touchdowns. Heading into his junior campaign, the lanky receiver was expected to stand out as a clear-cut game-breaker and take a step forward as a surefire NFL prospect, but his production slightly tailed off as a result of some inconsistencies and the lack of solid quarterback play.
He finished the 2010 season with only 52 catches and five touchdowns(despite shaky quarterback play ). Baldwin is blessed with great length, excellent muscle build and definition, as well as large hands. Baldwin is a long strider and while he doesn’t have the best burst off the line or short area quickness, his top end speed, once he reaches it, is very impressive. His fleetness of foot combined with his uncanny ability to high-point the football on deep throws, amazing hand-eye coordination, leaping ability and his skill at contorting his body in mid-air all come together to make him an elite deep threat.
Intangibles: Mike Mayock NFL.com states Baldwin "has a well-earned reputation as a diva. And publicly trashed his starting QB at Pitt," adds Mayock. Baldwin was also arrested in May of 2009 for allegedly groping a female student on a bus, and has had public altercations with the Sporting News' Russ Lande and Chris Steuber of NFL Draft Scout. Mayock believes Baldwin will still go early in the second round.
Baldwin lashed out personally at Sporting News draft analyst Russ Lande after Lande criticized him for being a "body catcher." Lande believes it's "crazy talk" to consider Pittsburgh WR Jonathan Baldwin a first-round prospect. Lande points to "almost zero quickness" off the line, out of breaks, and after the catch. http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2011-03-15/lewis-a-star-baldwin-a-bust-at-pitt-pro-day
Baldwin blamed his coaches and quarterback for his decrease in production "They had me running a lot of deep routes [this year] and yards were hard to come by. I barely ran intermediate routes; it felt like they were purposely trying to disrupt my draft stock.”
Baldwin's got the raw talent for a potential first-round grade, but questions persist about his consistency on the field and his maturity off. On the Lucas Oil Stadium turf, Baldwin didn't help himself with the on-field stuff. He caught the ball decently, but he struggled as much as any receiver in the drills with route-running; he looked unfinished running some of the different patterns and missed a few cones outright. It's been a trend toward sloppier routes in the last few years at these drills, and Baldwin didn't bring up the ratio of route-solid players. - By Doug Farrar
Summary: Although I feel as though he’s not nearly the same type of prospect as guys like A.J. Green or Julio Jones, Baldwin brings enough to the table to be viewed as a No. 1 receiver in the NFL.