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2018 Steelers Training Camp Player Preview – Justin Hunter

July 18, 2018
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2018 Steelers Training Camp Player Preview – Justin Hunter

One of the biggest enigmas on the Steelers roster is receiver Justin Hunter. Standing 6’4 and blessed with natural athleticism, some may wonder how he has not been able to reach his full potential at this point of his career. During the first few days of training camp last summer, Hunter’s athleticism was in full display, as he consistently made difficult catches during one-on-one and team drills. As soon as training camp transitioned into pads, Hunter regressed. Though his one shining moment in the preseason against the Carolina Panthers, a 58-yard touchdown reception from then-rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs, Hunter never quite regained the form that made him the center of attention at the beginning of training camp. He was selected as the sixth wide receiver on the active, yet his contributions throughout the regular season last year was minimal. Hunter is a long way from being ranked as the second-best wide receiver prospect prior to the 2013 NFL draft. As far as this year’s training camp, Hunter comes in aware that this could be his last opportunity to be the receiver many expected him to be.

 

Despite earning a spot on the active roster last season, Hunter should be aware that his position on the team is not as secure as one would suggest. For all his athleticism, one of his noted deficiencies is an aspect head coach Mike Tomlin holds in high regard in receivers, that being making combat catches. Against more physical defensive backs, Hunter generally loses many of these types of battles, likely due to his lean frame. For Hunter to make an impression during training camp, he must not shy away from the physical nature of his position, rather he should embrace it; a commitment to strength training during the offseason is imperative.

Secondly, Hunter’s needs to play in accordance with his size. With Martavis Bryant no longer in the fold, Hunter becomes the tallest receiver on the roster. One of the areas Hunter must establish himself is in the red zone. Overall, Hunter has all the tools to become one of the best receivers on the Steelers roster. At the same time, if Hunter does not play to his strengths and prove he can be a reliable asset, he may find his roster spot taken by someone else.

Kelly Anozie http://www.pittsburgh-blitz.com

Born and raised Ottawa, Ontario Canada, Kelly is a Steelers contributor to The Point of Pittsburgh. Formerly a contributor for SBNation's 'Behind the Steel Curtain'. Kelly can be reached via the Twitter handle @kanozie80

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