Prospect 1 was one of my personal favorites in Chris Rainey.
Today we take a look at a wide receiver who is making a nice climb up the charts, coming in with a solid, yet unspectacular senior season that had him grading out as a fourth rounder according to most scouts, yet he has started to turn some heads down in Mobile, and seems to be making a smallish climb into the third round status.
Criner had a much higher stock after his excellent junior season, as highlighted above, but decided that 2011 would be a special year for the Arizona Wildcats and himself.
He was mistaken on both accounts.
Criner is a big, possession type target, who uses fantastic body control and great timing ability in his jumps to make plays.
He catches the ball out in front of himself and uses his hands well, but most importantly he always puts himself in position to make a play.
While he lacks elite speed to make himself a true game changer, he should develop into a very consistent red zone target in the NFL.
Criner missed part of the season with an appendectomy, which hurt him statistically, and never played at the same high level as he did in 2010.
So What are the Experts Saying:
ESPN’s Todd McShay: “Arizona WR Juron Criner has had a sneaky-strong week, showing smoothness for his size (6-2, 220) and impressive hands. Criner uses his frame effectively when shielding defenders from the ball, and his 10-4 hands were on display today on over-the-shoulder grabs and catches in traffic. He continued to help himself with another solid effort.”
Rob Rang of CBS: “Though he certainly doesn’t possess the big play speed of Arkansas’ Joe Adams or Houston’s Patrick Edwards, he’s frankly been a more reliable target this week than either of the other two big possession receivers NFLDraftScout.com currently rates ahead of him — North Carolina’s Dwight Jones and Texas A&M’s Jeff Fuller.”
While I haven’t been able to find any substantial or even unsubstantial evidence, there are concerns about him off the field. I’ll just say the few people I know at UofA don’t have a lot of negative things to say about him, but they also aren’t chummy.
Criner needs to find a team that has a solid #1 receiver, and maybe even a passable #2 right now, and allow him to get acclimated, and not necessarily be depended on.
Why these three teams? Carolina and Philadelphia need a bigger, younger possession receiver and the Steelers just need someone that can replace Hines Ward.
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