This year’s NFL Draft will have a bigger international feel than it has quite possibly in its history. This year’s draft will feature players born in countries like Ghana (Ezekiel Ansah), Germany (Bjoern Werner), England (Menelik Watson), and Estonia, where one of the more interesting prospects in this draft was born. Margus Hunt is physically enormous and resembles a bear on the field. He used raw power and speed to make plays for the Mustangs of Southern Methodist. His pure athleticism has some fans and draftniks alike expecting Hunt to get his name called early on draft day and while his measurable are intriguing, his unbelievable lack of technique, football IQ to this point, and his age make it far more likely that he will end up going in the third or as late as the fifth round of the draft.
Hunt measured 6’8¼” 277lbs at the Senior Bowl. He is built well and looks country strong with plenty of room to add more weight without losing any of his athleticism. He has impressive speed and agility for someone his size. He appears to have a good motor and stamina. Physically, Hunt appears to have all the tools necessary to be extremely successful in the NFL.
Whether it is against the run or the pass, he runs into the same issues over and over. He fires off the ball, flashes a good initial punch, and ends up standing straight up, giving up any and all leverage and substantially reducing the amount of power he can use. By standing up and not playing behind his pads, he is going with all arm strength. He throws a nice jab, but it is nothing compared to the guys who are using their core and their legs in their attack. The result is that Margus Hunt’s attack on offensive linemen resembles an offensive tackle pass blocking, which enables him to hold up really well at the point of attack against the run, but is worthless as far as penetration and pass rushing goes. The few times Hunt does use good leverage, stay behind his pads, and get underneath the opponent’s pads resulted in dominance. He showed impressive power, knocking opposing blockers off balance and controlling them either by driving them back or just slipping past them. For whatever reason, this has not caught on with Hunt yet to do it consistently.
Wherever he is training right now, he should be spending almost every available waking minute going through chutes. When he is not going through chutes, he should be bear crawling from place to place. Whichever NFL team ultimately takes him should have him do almost nothing that does not involve him getting comfortable being low to the ground. As it stands right now, if he cannot correct this issue, he has no viability on a football field outside of on special teams trying to block kicks.
Hunt has flashed the ability to take over football games with huge performances. He used speed and power to get to the quarterback from the edge that resembles a bear attack on the quarterback. His athleticism and speed off the edge is incredible. The problem is too often, this is predictable and when he stands up, he is a big target and easy to control for any linemen who has serviceable feet to keep up with him. Hunt went out with a big in a huge performance against Fresno State in the bowl game and some people hoped he could carry this performance over to the Senior Bowl. This did not happen. In the bowl game against Fresno State, Hunt was matched up with a true freshman right tackle. Margus Hunt, a 25 year old man was dominating an 18 or 19 year old kid like he should. This did not carry over to the Senior Bowl where instead of a true freshman, had to compete with some of the best senior offensive tackles in the country. His inability to use leverage or take advantage of his strength resulted in him being completely ineffective the entire week and ultimately being forgettable and invisible. That was a preview of what teams can expect from the current version of Hunt in the NFL. Crazy physical tools only carry a person so far before they need to be able to play football to be effective. The Senior Bowl week showed exactly where that line was for Hunt.
In terms of his fit, Margus Hunt gives teams a ton of options. His best fit might be as a five technique defensive end in a three four system, but he could play power end or defensive tackle in the NFL. He might be better suited to play at defensive tackle because he can take more advantage of his quickness there and if nothing else, he could be a 6’8” shot blocker for opposing quarterbacks to throw around. His speed makes him tempting on the edge. All of it will depend on Hunt fixing his technical issues and if he can do that, it almost does not matter where he plays, he will have the ability to be an impact player. Every indication suggests that he will come in as depth and be someone that has to be developed, but he can be an immediate threat on special teams. Through his career, Margus Hunt has blocked an astounding 17 kicks against every level of opponent. Even if Hunt struggles early in his career, the threat he poses on special teams will allow him to hold a roster spot for at least a little while.
In terms of coming up with a comparison of who Margus Hunt could be in the NFL, if he figures out his technical issues and becomes the players some believe he can, he could be the next coming of Chicago Bear Hall of Famer Doug Atkins. Atkins dominated in the 50’s and 60’s as a larger than life players, like Hunt at 6’8”, who just overpowered opponents and was a one man wrecking crew. Relatively to the era, Atkins’ 257lbs made him appear as the giant that Hunt does in this generation at 277lbs. In terms of where Hunt is now, he compares to three players that are similarly raw with incredible potential; Oregon’s Dion Jordan, BYU’s Ezekiel Ansah, and Tennessee’s Cordarrelle Patterson. All four of these players have incredible athletic ability and potential that could result in huge stars in the NFL or unmitigated disasters. Given where Hunt is likely to be drafted, he poses the least risk, but all four have the potential to get their team’s GM fired for picking and missing on them or getting other team’s GMs fired for not picking them and missing on a huge star.
Margus Hunt is a controversial prospect that has some fans loving him, some fans hating him, and some fans not sure what to think. His physical tools are incredible. Reportedly, he will run a 4.6 40 at 6’8” 277lbs. Even though he will turn 26 during his first training camp, if he can hit that eye-popping 40 time, teams will take more notice and have to decide how easily they can fix Hunt’s technical issues. As a result, the range for where Hunt could be drafted is huge with a small chance he could go at the end of the second round, but more likely, he will become a factor in the third round but with the possibility of falling as far as the fifth.
Fresno State 2012
Texas A&M 2011
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