Jon Baldwin uses Basketball Skills on Football Field

April 05, 2011 | Brian Billick

Jon Baldwin is an athletic wide receiver that was a two year starter for the Pittsburgh Panthers.  Before college, Baldwin was quite the high school basketball player and was selected to the McDonald’a All America team.  I had the chance to meet Jon at the NFL Combine, and he shared with me that his high school coach is the one that encouraged him to pursue football at the next level.  His coach told him there were “100 other kids in New York City that could do what he does on a basketball court.”

You can see those basketball influences in him as a football player.  He tracks and adjusts to the ball well in the air and attacks at it’s highest point in jump ball situations.  He is a big physical receiver that uses his body to “box out” defenders and shield them from the ball.  Similar to most tall rookie receivers, he will need to learn how to get off press coverage that is more prominent in the NFL game than college.  He is a little upright in his stance at the line of scrimmage, exposing a lot of shoulder with gives the corner a big target to jam him out of his route.   Having top end speed was a huge question mark going into the combine, but he did run a better than expected 4.5 forty-yard dash.  That speed combined with his 6’4 3/8 and 228 pound frame will make him an intriguing prospect at the draft.

Baldwin is in the discussion as the third best WR prospect in this year’s draft class, but some teams think of him as having a “diva” personality.  He will continue to address those concerns during visits and individual workouts with teams prior to the draft, and I look for him to be selected in the second round.