Position Ranking: #3
Strengths: Hankerson is one of a few wide receivers in this class with the ideal combination of size and playing speed for the NFL level. Smooth route-runner who comes out of his breaks crisply and plays balanced in all his movements. Has good dexterity when extending and making catches away from his frame, behind him, and when adjusting quickly to make catches low and away.
Can be a deep threat at the next level and shows good catch up burst when tracking and the quickness to separate at the top of his route when asked to go downfield. Good release quickness off the line of scrimmage to close the cushion; quick feet for his size. Has improved year to year with his route running and uses head nods and feet to push the cornerback away from his spot or set the defender up on the deep routes.
Understands zone coverage and knows how and when to settle in a soft spot. Tough after the catch. Can make the spectacular reception in traffic. Hard runner.
Needs Improvement: Doesn’t always release off the line of scrimmage with the same intensity if he isn’t the first receiver in the progression. Hands aren’t always consistent, running hot and cold. Will double clutch the ball or allow it to get too deep into his body at times. Focus can improve.
Needs to develop technique against press coverage to keep from being slowed down at the next level. Can get lackadaisacal in run support and incurred a couple of penalties in the games I observed of him.
Bottom Line: Leonard Hankerson developed very nicely into a complete receiver over his four years at Miami. He frequently played both the outside spots and the slot. He never hesitated on the inside routes, and played more physical over the course of his career. His experience in a pro-style system will be a great benefit to him, being that Hankerson showed he could run a complete passing tree that NFL systems require.
He shows all of the characteristics you look for in a number 1 receiver, and while he doesn’t have elite speed and quickness, it’s plenty good and won’t deter him from becoming a playmaker at the next level. He runs hard after the catch and has good overall instincts for the position. Hankerson has as much upside as any receiver in this class and should be drafted early.
Draft Projection: Late 1st to mid 2nd round.