Chiefs Draft Prospects: Leonard Hankerson

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Earlier today we linked you to a seven round mock draft for the Kansas City Chiefs completed by NFL Mocks. I thought it would be fun to take a look at some of the players Mocks had the Chiefs taking to give you all a more in depth look. As you know, it is our hope to get Addict Nation as much information about the potential new Chiefs that you’ll know what is going on when the names start getting called on draft day.

I wanted to start with WR Leonard Hankerson. NFL Mocks had the Chiefs taking Hankerson with their second round pick.

WR is a huge need for the Chiefs and it is likely not a position that will be sorted out by just drafting one guy or signing one free agent. I am all for KC picking up a FA WR or two as well as drafting some young help in April.

Hankerson is a really interesting prospect that I hadn’t really though too much about until he popped up in today’s mock. I’ve been dreaming of Julio Jones falling to KC in round one, but seeing as how we can’t rely on that it is important that we take a look at some of the other receivers in this draft.

Hankerson played his college ball at University of Miami and while he was highly touted coming out of high school, his career got off to a rocky start. He was often criticized for losing focus which lead to a problem with drops. Hankerson showed some maturity as his college career progressed and started working hard to improve his play.

Let’s take a look at some interesting bits from Hankerson’s scouting report from With The First Pick:

Ball Skills:

Focus has improved over the years. Catches the easy balls as well as the hard ones. Has a knack for making one handed catches. Knows how to use his body to his advantage. Boxes out defenders like how a basketball player would box out for a rebound. Has good balance and body control. Knows how to adjust to poorly thrown balls.

Big Play Ability:

Starts off slow, but has good top end speed because of his long stride. Is a huge threat deep down the field. Is a smooth runner that can lull defenders to sleep. Does well with the ball in his hands. Isn’t very elusive or quick, but can pick up yards after the catch by using his size and strength. Requires a lot of attention in the redzone.

Intangibles: (Pioli’s favorite)

2010 All-ACC 1st Team. Has been mentored by some of the best. All-Pro receiver, Cris Carter was his high school receivers coach. Works out with NFL great Mark Duper during the offseason. Mature young man. Teammates call him “Old Man”. Juggles the responsibilities of being a student athlete and father of two.

This is the one that really stands out to me. Cris Carter was this kid’s high school receivers coach. As you know, Todd Haley got Carter to help mentor Dwayne Bowe all throughout last season and you saw how that worked out. There are a lot of physical similarities between Bowe and Hankerson and it would likely help the rookie to watch a guy like Bowe go to work in practice.

The fact that he demonstrates work ethic and maturity will likely be highlighted wherever this kid falls on the Chiefs’ draft board. If he is there when the Chiefs draft in the second round I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they took a chance on him.

Larry over at With The First Pick thinks that Hankerson could develop into a #1 receiver but that he would already be a solid #2 and that is just what the Chiefs need.

The big knock on Hankerson so far seems to be that some worry he lacks the speed to be a deep threat at the next level. NFL Draft Scout currently has him listed as running around a 4.5 forty but he can certainly lay to rest some doubts with a solid showing at this week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

I think I’d be ok if the Chiefs took Hankerson. I like that he has been working hard in the offseason in the last two years to improve his catching and route running. He has moved on to shaving time off his 40 and if he takes that same drive into the NFL he should be able to succeed. He certainly sounds like he fits the model for the kind of hardworking, talented player the Chiefs are looking for. He also had a pretty good showing at the Senior Bowl, reeling in 5 catches for 100 yards, including a 18-yard TD and a 48-yard bomb.

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