New England Patriots Draft News: Detroit Lions meet Justin Hunter


A 2013 NFL Draft prospect whom New England Patriots fans need to keep a keen eye on is former Tennessee Volunteers standout Justin Hunter, who quelled speed concerns after injuries in college with an excellent forty time at the NFL Combine. The hyper-athletic, playmaking wide receiver would be a great addition for the Patriots wide receiver corps, which is a big need for the Pats going into this draft.

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Hunter was once a bona fide first-round pick, but fellow Vols teammate Cordarrelle Patterson stole a lot of that thunder, and Hunter as been tumbling off of draft boards. But recently, interest in the former Tennessee standout has picked up, which could be bad news for Pats fans hoping that Hunter would continue to fall and potentially land with the Patriots in the late second-round.

Count the Detroit Lions as a team with interest in Justin Hunter, as they look to achieve their top goal of providing as many weapons as possible to surround Matthew Stafford. The Lions are in a prime position to pluck Hunter in this draft, since he has a high second-round grade and would be right there for the Lions to snag with their second-round draft choice. Detroit has pressing needs that they will need to solve in this draft, and their fifth overall selection in the first-round will cross out one glaring need. That will likely be at cornerback with the selection of Alabama lockdown guy Dee Milliner, but it could also go to rising tackle Eric Fisher, but I would prefer Milliner for them due  to the fact that CB is the more pressing need and Milliner the better player.

But anyway, Detroit Lions official site lead writer Tim Twentyman wrote a piece about Hunter, who is the first of thirty draft prospects to visit Detroit and check out the facilities the Lions have. Hunter said, “I know they have two people on (Calvin Johnson) every time he lines up and people base their game plan on him. It would be nice (playing next to a guy like that) because usually that happens to me. I know how it feels. I think one-on-one coverage would be great. I’d be excited for that.”

Great stuff from Hunter, and that means the Lions are taking a close look at selecting the playmaking wideout with their second-round choice. That means the Patriots would have to take him in the late first if they are sold on Hunter, but I doubt that happens. The Patriots are looking at several other wide receivers, and they could also easily go corner or safety in the first as well.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.