Dec 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter (15) reaches for a pass against the Houston Texans during the first half at LP Field. The Titans won 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
In the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft the Tennessee Titans selected wide receiver Justin Hunter from the Tennessee Volunteers as a potential playmaker moving into future years at the position. After a year of play, we now have a better perspective of what exactly could become of Hunter’s future in Nashville.
The emergence of Hunter as a future playmaker didn’t come fast and wasn’t realized until the sharp decline of Kenny Britt. Many saw Britt’s contract season as a season in which he would explode back onto the scene making big plays, putting up big numbers and being the vertical threat we drafted him to be a few years ago. When the realization that Britt was not living up to standards, Hunter got his opportunity.
Hunter’s first catch of his NFL career was against the San Diego Chargers where he grasped a 34-yard toss from Jake Locker in a game winning drive to propel the Titans to 2-1 on the early season. The vertical ability of Hunter was noticed as was his ability to make big plays in tight spots in games. His stats as a rookie weren’t all that bad either. At this point, no one still knows exactly what Hunter will become moving forward, but it has been a promising start to the rookie’s career.
Moving forward, what can we expect out of Justin Hunter? Will he be our next downfield vertical threat and be the Kenny Britt (minus the behavior and injuries) of the future? Hunter’s size makes him the ideal fit to replace Britt in that sense and his vertical leap and hands are phenomenal, at least with what we have seen thus far. The only thing we have to see out of Hunter is consistency, something we never saw out of Britt. If he has that and can be a consistent downfield threat game in and game out then he has a bright future ahead.
The Tennessee Titans could a great group of wide receivers moving into next season with Hunter and possibly Nate Washington (or another young gun) on the outsides and Kendall Wright in the slot. That is the making of one talented receiver core. Not to mention having Delanie Walker back at tight end. Having Hunter as a downfield threat could pay dividends to this Titans team as well. Now we just need to see that consistently next season. If this happens, this Titans receiving core could be dangerous.
What do you think about Justin Hunter’s future? Do you see him having success or not? Let me know what you think in the comments, on Facebook or via Twitter @Titan_Sized or my personal account @NPitak.
(All stats for Justin Hunter provided via ESPN.com)