Scouting Report: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU
Last week I asked you all to guess who our one defensive player would be. None of you did. So here we go. This is a first for us. We don’t do IDP at Rotobahn and we’re not a scouting service, but we have to talk about Margus Hunt. The Estonian, as we call him, is a tremendous athlete. The fact that he has trained for the Olympics for most of his life, makes him a square peg of sorts on the football field, and that seems to concern some people. The thrust of the anti-Hunt argument goes like this, he’s not a linebacker and he’s too long and thin to play end or tackle. He’s a tweener without an upside position.
In the words of Jules Winnfield, “well allow me to retort.”
We disagree with the entire premise. Not only do we think Hunt can play DE in the NFL, we think he can be used situationally at the other positions too. This guy is a total freak and he is made for the way the NFL game is trending. Not only can he harass the heck out of the passer, he knocks down passes and blocks kicks. This is a player that can have a huge effect on the game.
The other knock on Hunt is that he is too inexperienced. A few things on that. Of the football years missed, you are primarily talking about high school. He played three years for June Jones at SMU, so he had good college coaching. What he missed was potentially bad high school coaching and the bad habits that bad coaching can create. Let’s face it, high school coaching is hit and miss.
As a former track and field star, Hunt is a natural worker. He learned a lot in his time at Southern Methodist. He will continue to get better at the next level.
Conventional wisdom has Hunt going in round two with a shot at going late in round one. We think he goes even higher. For a win-now team, this guy could be the difference. God help the NFL if a team like New England or San Francisco gets him. Margus is a game-wrecker. And factor this in ... he’s a smart player too.
When you combine Hunt’s freak athleticism, his work ethic and his smarts, you have a scary package. Hunt has enormous upside that is worth a pick anywhere in the draft as far as we are concerned.
The one legit issue with the Estonian is his age. He got started late due to the track and field career. He is twenty five and has a birthday in July. Still, he’s low mileage in terms of football wear and tear and is a phenomenal athlete. No reason to think he’ll go over the hill early, but it’s the one legit area where we understand a downgrade. I can understand why teams want a guy like Dion Jordan. Age is a fair tie-breaker, but we think Hunt is that good. He belongs with the elite talent in this draft.
Take a look at Hunt lighting up quarterbacks and more. You might want to mute the music if you’re in the office or around the kids.
Hunt’s exploits are not limited to defense. He’s a special teams nightmare for the opposition, because at 6-8 and with his wingspan, he is a kick-blocking machine.
Doesn’t seem fair does it?
Let’s sum up the things we like....
- Size/speed. At 6’8” and 277 pounds, this man ran a 4.60 at the combine. That is simply insane.
- Motor. Hunt plays hard. He is still learning, but he is a good effort player.
- Quickness, though he has some agility limitations as all tall athletes do, he has a very quick first step off the snap. That, combined with his size and closing speed, makes him a potentially dominant pass rusher.
- Strength. Hunt was tops in the bench press and when you combine that with his skill level and coachability, you have to like his chances using his hands to disengage blockers.
- Has the swim move down and that will help him against most tackles.
- Sets the edge well with his wingspan.
- Special teams value. Hunt can help you in big spots at the end of games with his ability to block kicks. He is that good at it.
- Character. This kid is a model citizen and he is a learner. Defensive coordinators will love him.
Margus Hunt. Get used to the name, football fans. I'm tellin' ya.