First off, he doesn’t display the same type of initial explosion off the line or out of his breaks. Plus, this season the guy looks a bit heavier in the upper body and doesn’t quite seem as fluid when asked to change directions, fighting himself trying to get back up to speed, as he’s forced to routinely gear down and/or round off his breaks out of his routes. And, despite the fact the guy is a powerful strider down the field who picks up speed as he goes, he doesn’t have the type of second gear to routinely outpace defenders and quickly get behind them.
Now, all this doesn’t mean the guy can’t play at a high level in the NFL, as he has a big frame, can go up and pluck the football and isn’t afraid to work the middle of the field. However, in my mind he looks more like a higher end possession type receiver at the next level than a legit game-breaking type number one threat."
Most impressive of all may be his ability to go up and get the football—he possesses impressive leaping ability and it doesn’t hurt that he measures in at 6’5”. More than length, Baldwin is also big (225 pounds), muscular and strong, which allows him to out-fight cornerbacks fairly easily. The high school hoops star is very flexible for a man of his size, capable of going down to get the football as easily as he wins jump balls. Baldwin can do damage on crossing routes attacking the middle of the gridiron or outside the hash marks down the field. In his breakout season the Big East star produced seven 100-yard games, including three straight to end the regular season. Pitt may have fallen short of a conference title, but Baldwin wasn’t the reason why—he caught 14 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns in losses to West Virginia (19-16) and Cincinnati (45-44). The Panthers will be breaking in a new quarterback this season, but that won’t stop Baldwin and the team from achieving big things in 2010.
The soon-to-be junior wide receiver passes the eye test with flying colors—standing at 6’5” and 225 pounds Baldwin is blessed with great length, excellent muscle build and definition, as well as large hands. However, the Pitt product is more than just body beautiful; once he gets on the field, his skills become evident. 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. Given his size and strength, Baldwin has the potential to be an exceptional run blocker, and if he commits himself to that part of the game NFL coaches will salivate over him. The Panther does lacks elite top-end burst, hip fluidity and acceleration. Nevertheless, if Baldwin can come into Pittsburgh and dominate during his junior year while remaining healthy, he has every chance to be a top-20 pick."
Negatives: Comes with some character concerns, was charged with disorderly conduct and harassment in 2009... Needs to work on his route running, slows down to change direction and runs too much in a straight line... Has trouble getting off the line of scrimmage despite his frame... Doesn't always get good separation in man coverage... Lacks any suddenness to his game... Appears lazy at times, doesn't always come back to the ball when plays break down... Has not dominated the way that he should with his physical gifts."
Those numbers should improve as quarterback Tino Sunseri gets better. Pitt has dominated their two Big East games by beating Syracuse and Rutgers and they are the only undefeated team left in conference play. If the Panthers continue to win games, Baldwin will finally get some national attention.
Yet, at 6-5 and 230 pounds, Baldwin does not need his team to do well for him to be a first round draft pick. Not only does Baldwin have great size and strength, but he is fast. He has reportedly run a sub 4.4 40 and if he does that again at the NFL combine, he will be the first receiver off of the board. Even if he runs a 4.5 40, he will be one of the top three receivers in the draft…that is if he opts to forgo his senior season at Pitt."
He has terrific body length and leaping ability but has had some trouble against better cornerbacks such as Miami (Fla.)'s Brandon Harris, does not always play with confidence and is still immature and learning how to play the game."
If he can lose a few pounds and regain his former velocity, as well, then he could be exceptional.
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