Jalin Hyatt’s performance at the NFL combine has been the subject of quite a bit of debate, mostly based on his 40-yard dash time.
Hyatt ran a 4.4-second time in the 40-yard dash before pulling out of drills with a sore hamstring. He’ll try to better that time at Tennessee’s Pro Day on March 30. Hyatt’s time is nothing to be ashamed of and was even compared to NFL standout Julio Jones, who ran a 4.41. However, Hyatt was measured at 6-feet and 176 pounds at the combine. Jones was 6-3 and 220 pounds when he ran a 4.39 in 2011. NFL Network graphics showed that Hyatt was faster when he hit his top speed than Jones, but the two players aren’t really comparable.
Hyatt’s game is predicated on speed and he’s likely to play slot receiver in the NFL. Jones is a big, physical receiver that could play any receiver position. For a receiver that relies on speed and will need some tutoring on his route running, Hyatt needs to be in the 4.3’s eventually to max out his draft stock.
Still, Hyatt’s production last season speaks for itself. The Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s best college receiver was fourth in the country in receiving yards per game and tops in Power Five Conferences. Hyatt also posted a 40-inch vertical jump and a 11-foot-3 broad jump during the combine.
Continuing our series of comparing current NFL prospects to former Vols, here are some former Tennessee players that are reminiscent of Hyatt.
Alvin Harper and Peerless Price
Hyatt may soon fill the same sort of role that Harper did during his standout seasons with the Dallas Cowboys in the early 1990’s. Harper’s game was all about speed and stretching the field to test a defense and open up space underneath. However, Price is likely a better comparison to Hyatt than Harper.
Price was 5-11 and had a penchant for making big plays at Tennessee and in the NFL. Hyatt proved that in college with five touchdowns against Alabama. Hyatt just has to prove he’s as fast as Price and Harper.
Harper was one of the best deep threats in the NFL before he left the Cowboys for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Price helped the Vols to a national championship in 1998 before he went onto a standout NFL career that lasted almost a decade. Price dictated coverage, which made him a No. 1 receiver. Harper wasn’t considered that dangerous.
Hyatt probably isn’t a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. However, he can be a strong No. 2. Currently, Hyatt is still projected by some as a first-round pick. However, that seems unlikely.
Hyatt will be questioned as a product of Tennessee’s offensive system and is probably the second best former Vol to enter the draft this year, behind Cedric Tillman, who is considered a better prospect despite being injured for most of last season.