2011 NFL Draft Projections: Where Might Pitt's Jon Baldwin Be Taken?

Fans of NFL teams whose seasons are already over are looking forward to the NFL draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t one of those teams, fortunately, and we don’t yet know where the Steelers will draft. For local college players who might be drafted, however, such as West Virginia’s Robert Sands, Penn State’s Stefen Wisniewski, and Pitt’s Jon Baldwin, there are plenty of reasons to follow the rumblings about the draft.

Baldwin has only been modestly productive so far this year, but his body type and athleticism are the sorts of things that NFL teams dream on. It’s a very deep year for wide receivers, with Georgia’s A.J. Green, Alabama’s Julio Jones, Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, and possibly Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd likely to go in the first round.

Everything I’ve seen suggests that Baldwin will go somewhere in the middle to late first round. SB Nation’s Mocking The Draft ranks him as the 20th-best draft prospect. SBNation.com’s recent mock draft has Baldwin going 22nd overall to the Chiefs (whose overall draft position has yet to be determined. FanHouse’s new mock draft has him going to the Chiefs as well:

After receiving high marks in their last few drafts, the Chiefs have started to hit their stride. They still need to add one more playmaker on offense, someone to draw double coverage away from Dwayne Bowe. Big and fast, Baldwin will be able to consistently stretch opposing defenses, giving the running game even more room to work.

It’s interesting that both SB Nation and FanHouse have Baldwin going to the Chiefs. With Green, Jones and Blackmon likely to go before him, it’s not at all clear yet that he’ll be the Chiefs’ top choice when their turn comes up in the draft, or that he won’t be off the board by then anyway. But it seems clear that a lot of folks think Baldwin is around the 20th to 25th-best talent available

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