BJ Cunningham   WR   Michigan St       

TALENT BOARD

 Round 3


STRENGTHS

BJ is probably the most mature route runner in this draft.  He has quick feet and excellent hands.  He also might be the sneakiest receiver in this draft as he finds ways to get open deep in spite of the fact that he lacks the pure athleticism of others receivers in this draft.  This kid is smart and understands when to explode out of his breaks.  He runs his routes different than most receivers.  He runs his routes with different gears and never seems to run a route the same way in a game.  He runs a nine route different every time he runs it, but at the same time, he makes it easy for his QB to see that he is open to get the ball to him.  He is a very good blocker and could be used in the slot or outside.  He is excellent against zone coverage.  Inside the red zone, there are not many that will be able to stay with him or stop him from getting open and scoring touchdowns in single coverage.  He is not a good "run after the catch receiver", but he is a very good "drag the tackle down the field", type of receiver to get the needed yards.  BJ reminds me a lot of Hines Ward (WR, Pittsburgh Steelers) because of his feel for running routes, his football intelligence and his excellent ability to read cornerbacks and work them all game long.   

 

CONCERNS

BJ is a football player.  He will not workout very well.  He will also struggle with QB's he does not know.  After you draft him, he will not look fast, and will struggle to catch the ball.  However, put him in a game and he will come to life.  Your QB will fall in love with him quickly.  He is a smooth operator.

 

BOTTOM LINE

BJ might not get drafted, but he will become a core player and fan favorite for the team that eventually gets him.  He is a game player, not a workout player.  He is smart, has good hands and can do what is needed when it is needed.  He can go deep because he runs routes so well.  He sets up his opponent and waits for the right time in a game to tell his QB he will be open and you can bet the house he will be open.  He has those quick little steps that will allow him to get off press coverage at the next level.  He is strong and runs with that smooth gait that makes it easy to catch the ball; he plays much faster than he times.  BJ doesn't fly off the line of scrimmage, he glides off the line and doesn't push the cushion like most receivers with speed.  BJ collapses and suckers his opponent into a small area than makes his cut and gains separation, which is a different style than most receivers are taught.  What I like about BJ is he adjusts his route to his opponent during the game so that he is open for his QB.  BJ's unique style of running routes is excellent for teams that use a lot of 4 and 5 receivers sets and throw the ball quickly in the red zone.  I have no doubt that, with the right team and offensive system, BJ will become a core player and a fan favorite for the team that ends up with him.  I would not expect him to be drafted in the early rounds because BJ is not a great workout type of player, but make no mistake -- he will be a good one.

 The BS Detector 

 Drew Boylhart  April/12