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New York Giants 2012 NFL Draft Profile: Arizona WR Juron Criner

Welcome back to the New York Giants 2012 NFL Draft profile series. We’re keeping the theme at wide receiver considering the Giants have brought in a few for visits and Jerry Reese has proven he is not shy about drafting wide receivers. This edition will showcase Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner.

Mario Manningham moved on to the San Francisco 49ers this offseason, and someone will have to assume his role in the Giants pass heavy offense. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are the obvious starters, but the situation gets cloudy after that.

Jerrel Jernigan, Ramses Barden, and Domenik Hixon will all have the opportunity to win the third wide receiver job, but they should feel anything but safe right now.

Criner feels like a prospect the Giants could actually wait until they pick at No. 63 to take. He does not possess elite speed and his Combine time could have teams staying away from him.

That said, Criner’s film makes him look much better than his clocked speed. He has long arms, big hands, and an explosive vertical jump despite weighing 225. Criner put on a terrific performance at the Senior Bowl against top tier corners, proving teams should ignore the 4.6 speed.

Criner had 75 catches for 956 yards and 11 touchdowns in his senior season and 82 catches, 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. A favorite target of fellow NFL prospect Nick Foles, Criner was a consistent threat as a starter for the Wildcats.

If teams can look past his clocked speed, they will see that Criner has elite size, hands, and above average route running. He played in a spread offense so was rarely tested in press coverage, but he has good enough strength that will help him learn to beat corners with his hands.

Criner has the ability to be an elite possession receiver in the NFL. Standing 6’4” and 225 pounds, he could be a guy that moves the chains and gets you points in the red zone. His 38 inch vertical gives him a huge edge while already standing 6’4′.”

Will need to work on run blocking and expand his knowledge of NFL style routes, but at his core he has many great NFL qualities for a wide receiver.

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