Now, isn’t real explosive off the snap and is a bit of a strider. But, has the ability to build speed as he goes and can be tough to cover the further down the field he gets. Knows how to use his big frame to shield defenders from the throw and adjust to the football. However, doesn’t exhibit the ability to consistently generate much separation as a route runner vs. man coverage. Does a nice job changing gears, but isn’t real explosive in and out of his breaks and has a tendency to start to drift into his routes. Is more graceful than explosive/sudden at this stage. Nevertheless, displays some shiftiness and power to his game with the ball in his hands. Looks natural making a man miss, putting his foot in the ground and accelerating up the field.
Is still learning how to beat press coverage and doesn’t use his big frame and hands well enough at this stage to cleanly fight his way into his routes. Looks content at times to let defenders get their hands on him and just kind of lumber his way off the line. But, definitely has the strength/physicality to develop in this area.
Impression: I love his frame, hand/eye coordination and ability to pluck the football. Isn’t ever going to generate a ton of separation for himself in the NFL, but could mature into a capable possession-type guy because of his ability to attack the throw."
Hands: Showed improvement in 2009 after struggling early in his career with drops. Generally catches the ball with his hands, but previously had allowed the ball to get into his pads and often tried to run before securing the pass. Wide wingspan and good leaping ability, giving his quarterback quite a target. Flashes the ability to extend and snatch the ball out of the air. At times showed a tendency toward alligator arms across the middle - not fully extending so as to avoid a big hit, but improved in his overall physicality and consistency as a senior.
Route running: Able to defeat the initial jam with his hands and good lateral agility. Has enough speed to force cornerbacks to respect the deep ball. Struggles to sink his hips and create explosion out of his cuts due to only moderate foot quickness and balance. Used on a variety of intermediate and long routes, as well as short drags across the middle, predominately.
After the catch: Enough straight-line speed to run away from defenders when he's hit in stride. Doesn't possess the quick feet and balance to elude in tight quarters. Showed better toughness, vision and determination running after the catch as a senior.
Blocking: Provides a good initial pop to the defender, but doesn't latch on with intensity consistently. Will look to help his teammates with a downfield block. Could improve in this area with more effort.
Intangibles: Struggled with drops amid the pressure of being a highly-touted prep prospect. With the help of his uncle, Hankerson received on-field tutoring from former Miami Dolphins star Mark Duper and enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2009. High school position coach was former NFL star and current ESPN football analyst Cris Carter."
Agility: He has the agility, balance, and body control to adjust and make great catches. He has the jumping ability to get up high to win jump balls. Can change directions quickly to get in and out of his cuts.
Body Control: Hankerson has very good body control. He has the balance and playing strength to keep his feet under him against defenders who are attempting to bring him down. Can make the tough over the shoulder catch and also able to tap feet inbounds along the sidelines and back of endzone.
Blocking: He gives a consistently good effort blocking. Will aid teammate downfield with a block to help him elude a defender. He has the size and strength to eliminate his man from the play.
Hands: He has very good hands to pluck ball away from body. He also has good hand-eye coordination to make catches that are off target. When he does not stay focused he sometimes struggles and drops passes that he routinely catches. He does not let ball get into his body often, usually catches with hands then brings in tight against his body.
Release: His agility and playing strength help him to defeat the cornerback’s jam fast. Gets off the ball quickly, but sometimes takes false steps in his technique. He can play inside at slot or out wide and still get a good release. While he lacks an explosive 1st step, once he gets going he can accelerate fast with his long stride.
Route Running: He consistently runs great routes and finds a way to get separation. He does not have great short area burst to get in and out of cuts because of long stride.
He does not have elite speed to get downfield fast on the deep routes, but has very deceptive speed and if a defender loses focus for a moment he can get by him with speed and make the play. (See 2010 Clemson and 2010 Georgia Tech highlights)
Size: Hankerson has excellent height for a receiver, but for his size is thin in the arms and legs. Because of that I am a little concerned about his durability as a NFL receiver. Needs to add a little more muscle. His size though helps him to be a threat in the red zone area.
Speed: He does not possess elite speed and has that so called 2nd gear. He uses the playing speed and quick burst he does have very well to get open and to separate from the defender to make the catch. He is not a true deep threat receiver, but like I said he always seems to find ways to get open.
Final Word: Hankerson has all the ability and skills to be a very good NFL player. Leonard had maybe the most productive single season as a receiver in Miami Hurricane history. He broke Michael Irvin’s single season record of 11 td’s with 13 td’s of his own. He might not be a true no.1 receiver at the moment, but with some proper coaching and better technique he could emerge as one down the road. He reminds me of a bigger version of Reggie Wayne, he also was not an elite speedster but every Sunday he finds ways to get open and score touchdowns. He would be a great compliment receiver with teams such as the Falcons, Texans, Dolphins, Colts, Chiefs, and the Ravens."
Hankerson broke out as a junior and had an even more successful senior season catching 72 passes and 13 touchdowns for a struggling Hurricane team in 2010.
Hankerson has a solid frame, and he uses his body well, showing off his physical presence by fighting for the football. He has good body control and locates the ball well. Hankerson generally catches the ball at its highest point, and has a nice, long stride. Hankerson is tough going across the middle and has deceivingly solid speed to make the play after the catch. His big frame makes him a nice target to make plays in the red zone and his productivity over the last two years has been very solid, and his performance in the Senior Bowl was a breath of fresh air as his practices during the week were just mediocre.
Hankerson’s speed isn’t ideal down the field, and he isn’t extremely quick. He will struggle getting a jam at the line sometimes, despite being more of a physical wide receiver. He struggles to get separation at times, and lacks huge yard after catch ability because he doesn’t have game breaking speed. Hankerson struggles to catch the ball with his hands, sometimes catching with his body more so, and resulting in drops. He will need to sharpen up his routes at the next level, more specifically his hitch’s and double moves.
Hankerson’s ceiling to be drafted is around pick 45. He should fall between 45 and 60 in the 2011 NFL Draft, with teams like St. Louis, Oakland, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Seattle and New England all looking to select him to sturdy up that offense. He has first round talent, but his lack of speed will likely keep out of the first.
NFL Comparison: Marques Colston"
Positive: Nice-sized receiver who has displayed tremendous progress over the past two years. Has a smooth, gliding style, uses his frame to shield away opponents, and makes difficult catches with defenders draped on him. Sturdy receiver who can take a big hit yet come away with the ball or even break tackles running after the catch. Shows great concentration, consistently makes the reception away from his frame, and adjusts to the errant throw. Makes the catch in stride and easily comes away with the difficult, over-the-shoulder reception downfield. Gives effort blocking downfield and gets results.
Negative: Slows into pass routes. Lacks a burst and true deep speed.
Analysis: Hankerson has been a reliable receiver for the Hurricanes the past two years and is one of the more underrated prospects at the position in April's draft. He lacks the dominant physical skills to be a number one receiver at the next level yet has all the tools necessary, both physical and mental, to be a productive second wide out."
Negatives: Drops too many easy passes, has lapses in concentration... Looks up field before securing the football... Lack of focus will drive coaches crazy... Lacks suddenness in his game, more of a straight line runner.. Not a great runner after the catch... Takes him awhile to get to full speed... Has received many Braylon Edwards comparisons for his knack for making a big play then dropping a sure catch the next time the ball is thrown to him."
Weaknesses: Not an elite burner or blocker. Not as refined yet as he should be in his routes. Lacks a little discipline at times, and needs to do a better job of taking care of the little things, esp. coming back to bail out his QB.
Projection: 2-3rd rounder."
It was in 2009 that Hankerson started to grab the attention of NFL scouts. He was the only receiver on the Hurricanes to catch a pass in all 13 games and ended the campaign leading the team with 45 receptions for 801 yards and six scores.
At 6-3 and 205 pounds, Hankerson has the size and strength to be a very productive player in the NFL. He is relatively fast too and can run about a 4.5 40. While there appears to be an obvious top four as far as receivers go in this draft class, Hankerson is slowly sneaking up on players like A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Jon Baldwin and Michael Floyd. If this class was not so stacked at the receiver position, Hankerson would likely be a first round selection. Instead, he should be a steal in the second round."
I just don't see it.
Leonard Hankerson strikes me as having a lack of Burst, pedestrian Speed, and poor Navigational skills.
He is not without gifts, but I sense a lack of Tenacity. Perhaps I'm wrong, but my instincts are telling me "Bust".
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