It’s been thought that Jonathan Baldwin was doing a heavy lean toward leaving Pittsburgh a year early and would make himself available for the 2011 NFL draft.
With the events of yesterday combined with the fact that Tino Sunseri would still likely be his quarterback, the wide receiver’s lean has turned into a full-blown tip toward the draft.
Speaking to NFLDraftScout.com via text message Tuesday, and after a bit of confusion, Baldwin confirmed that he will leave a year of eligibility on the table and declare for the NFL draft. And, along the way, he also managed to throw under the bus now-former head coach Dave Wannstedt, Pitt’s offensive coaching staff and the quarterback who will be throwing to him in his collegiate finale Jan. 8.
Reached through text message Tuesday evening and asked if it was safe to say he would forego his senior year with Wannstedt stepping down, Baldwin responded, “No, it’s not safe to say that. It doesn’t change my quarterback!”
At first, it sounded as if Baldwin was non-committal on his future, but when asked, “Why would you stay [for your senior season] when you have no chemistry with QB Tino Sunseri, a new coach/system taking over next season and possibly hurt your draft stock for the 2012 draft, Baldwin clarified, “Oh, I misunderstood you … Heck yeah I’m leaving. It can only get worse. They had me running a lot of deep routes [this year] and yards were hard to come by. I barely ran intermediate routes; it felt like they were purposely trying to disrupt my draft stock.”
Baldwin’s lack of tact as he heads out the door notwithstanding, the stats do bear him out. In 2009, he averaged 19.5 yards on his 57 receptions; in 2010, his per catch average on 52 receptions dropped precipitously to 15.6. The biggest difference between last season and this one? Bill Stull under center in ’09, Sunseri in ’10. Well, that and Dion Lewis suddenly became mortal in 2010.
Still, with his size — listed at 6-5, 230 pounds — and production — nearly 2,000 in two years, 13 touchdowns and over 100 receptions — Baldwin likely won’t be lacking suitors on the first couple of days of the April draft.