Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jon Baldwin is being touted as a breakout candidate by several sportswriters who believe that the former first round pick out of Pittsburgh will become the next great option for the Chiefs. As Dwayne Bowe continues to hold out and the Chiefs prepare to potentially move on, it's a good bet that Baldwin will get more looks and the stats will follow accordingly.
As Baldwin may or may not break out, we wanted to get an inside look at what Baldwin's expectations were entering the league and what Chiefs fans can expect fro him moving forward. Here's a few questions we asked of Anson Whaley of Cardiac Hill, the Pittsburgh Panthers blog for SB Nation. Here's our back and forth with him on Baldwin's history coming into the league:
There's a lot of buzz about Baldwin as a breakout candidate and some very impressive catches in practice that make sportswriters believe he could be a big play target down the line. Did you see flashes of the same there?
Absolutely. In fact, while Baldwin was here, that was kind of the knock against him for a while - that he was only a deep threat. Baldwin had big play potential at Pitt, no doubt, and we saw glimpses of it. Unfortunately, his full potential was probably never realized since the quarterbacks he played with, Bill Stull and Tino Sunseri, struggled to throw an accurate deep ball.
Nevertheless, he made some incredible catches from time to time and was a huge threat on long passes. His size also meant he was double-teamed a good deal and that also helped the team's other receivers.
Were you surprised by the first round result for Baldwin?
I was a bit and figured he would be a second, or even early third-rounder if he fell far enough. The potential was there, but there were also issues with his attitude that crept up. That was partially due to the fact that he threw Sunseri and the coaching staff under the bus at one point, criticizing his usage. Baldwin also had a tendency to drop some very catchable balls and while he had NFL size, I thought there was a good chance he'd fall out of the first.
Curious about the take on Baldwin outside of KC is at this point?
To me, Baldwin still has a high ceiling. He's not the fastest guy on the field, but his ideal size allows him to get into position to make big catches. But he's got to work - probably harder than he has to this point. I expected more out of him last year and my guess is that the Chiefs did, too.
That whole Thomas Jones thing didn't help his rep, either ... even if it wasn't really his fault entirely. I'm not sure that he'll ever be a true No. 1 that can go out and catch a eight to ten balls with any great regularity, but he can become a valuable cog as a strong second option and could be a matchup nightmare for smaller corners and safeties. It's no guarantee he'll be a star, but in my mind, the potential's there.
Check out more on the Pittsburgh Panthers at Cardiac Hill.