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Adding Context To Jonathan Baldwin's Pre-Draft Comments

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The Kansas City Chiefs first round pick WR Jonathan Baldwin is interesting if for no other reason than that there are so many varying opinions on him. When he was selected, ESPN's Trent Dilfer said he wasn't well-respected at Pittsburgh and NFL Network's Mike Mayock admitted he's a diva (but a talented diva).

Much of the diva talk comes from comments Baldwin made shortly after head coach Dave Wannstedt resigned last season. He wasn't happy with the way the season had gone and had this to say:

"Heck yeah I'm leaving," he said, according to NFL Draft Scout. "It can only get worse. They had me running a lot of deep routes [this year] and yards were hard to come by. I barely ran intermediate routes; it felt like they were purposely trying to disrupt my draft stock."

There's really no way to sugar coat it. That's not a good statement to make and certainly doesn't reflect well on what the Chiefs are doing in Kansas City.

Several people, though, think it's been a little overblown.
We heard former Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt talk to 610 Sports' Nick Wright about Baldwin's talent and work ethic. Another man from the Pittsburgh program, director of football operations Chris LaSala, says that issue is "very much overblown."

"There's no issue with that," LaSala told Jay Binkley on 810 WHB's 3 Guys In A Garage. "I think the biggest issue with him is how the guys against him are going to cover him."

LaSala added some context to Baldwin's words. It won't make what he said right, but it does help us understand what was behind it. (It's also only fair to note that, as someone coming from Pitt, LaSala is clearly biased and is invested in Baldwin's success.)

"I know it doesn't sound right but what no one talks about is that that was within two or three hours of his head coach resigning here at Pitt," LaSala said. "That was the guy that...Coach Wannstedt and Jonathan started a relationship in the recruiting process when that young man was in ninth grade. That's a seven-year relationship that out of nowhere kind of falls apart."

The differing opinions on Baldwin make it hard for us to get a grasp of who he is. We've heard the negative comments but you also have Wannstedt and LaSala saying he's a quiet, humble guy who will come in and work hard. LaSala even described him as a "football junkie".

Now that sounds like a Scott Pioli draft pick.