Pittsburgh wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin is one of the more intriguing prospects in the 2011 NFL draft class, and likely will be one of the most closely scrutinized players at the upcoming Scouting Combine. In a profile of Baldwin at Big Blue View I described Baldwin as a potential “home run or a horror show for whoever picks him.” That still seems pretty much on target.
Baldwin has been connected by some draft analysts to the New York Jets, who have the 30th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. That might make sense, since the Jets stand to lose both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards to free agency.
Baldwin’s draft stock seems to be all over the map as the Scouting Combine approaches.
There is absolutely no consensus around Baldwin’s status right now. Mayock bumped him down, though that may be more about just how good Titus Young looked at the Senior Bowl. Just yesterday, Wes Bunting of the NFP noted that several scouts he talked to love Baldwin’s talent, but have concerns about his “passion and character.” Maybe that’s behind Mayock’s big board. Rob Rang from NFL Draft Scout left Baldwin off his top 32 prospects list all together.
At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds the physical comparisons to former New York Giants star Plaxico Burress are inevitable. Scouts love the talent, but there are questions about Baldwin's character, work ethic and his ability to get open against NFL cornerbacks.
Baldwin caught 128 passes in three seasons at Pitt, scoring 16 touchdowns and averaging 18.3 yards per catch.
Baldwin’s week at the Scouting Combine is not likely to be about proving to NFL scouts and general managers that he has the talent to be a top-notch NFL receiver. More likely it will be about dispelling doubts about his work ethic and character, so how he carries himself around NFL personnel will be critical.