Arizona’s Juron Criner up in air about entering NFL Draftby Anthony Gimino on Dec. 17, 2010, under Sports
Calling it a “50-50″ possibility, Arizona Wildcats junior receiver Juron Criner said he will decide after the Alamo Bowl whether or not he declares for the NFL Draft.
“I haven’t really had a chance to sit down and talk with the family,” Criner told TucsonCitizen.com after Friday’s practice. “It’s a 50-50 deal whether I leave or come back.”
Criner filed paperwork with the NFL draft advisory committee, which will determine his likely draft status for 2011. He is waiting to hear back from the committee.
Criner, 6-4 and 210 pounds, was one of four players to be a unanimous selection on the All-Pac-10 team in a vote of the league coaches. He made 73 receptions for 1,186 yards and 10 touchdowns in the regular season, while battling nagging foot and ankle injuries that kept him out of parts of a few games.
“I think week in and week out I got better,” he said of his junior season, identifying route running and confidence as his biggest areas of improvement this year. “I’m just a player that does my job. I try to do the little technique things right and let everything else pan out.”
In addition to hearing from the advisory committee and talking to his family, Criner said he will be paying attention to potential 2011 NFL lockout news and checking to see which other receivers declare early.
While there is a scarcity of elite talent among senior receivers, there could be a flood of first-round possibilities entering the draft early, including Georgia’s A.J. Green, Alabama’s Julio Jones, Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd, Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles, Pitt’s Jon Baldwin, Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon and Maryland speedster Torrey Smith.
Criner has been a superb deep threat for Arizona, also excelling in catch-and-run opportunities, but he hasn’t been known as a flat-out burner.
“You obviously like that combination of size and speed,” said Rob Rang, a senior analyst for NFLDraftScout.com. “Good body control and hands. I would be curious to see what he is in terms of 40-yard speed. It looks like he has build-up speed, but I would want to see how explosive he is.”
Arizona will play Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Underclassmen have until Jan. 15 to declare for the draft.
On Thursday, Arizona junior quarterback Nick Foles said he intends to return for his senior season.