Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: DE Margus Hunt
Margus Hunt, DE Southern Methodist
6-8, 277 pounds
Hometown: Karksi-Nuia, Estonia
40 yard: 4.66
Bench Press: 38
3 Cone: 7.07″
News and Notes:
One of the more interesting stories of the 2013 NFL draft, the 25-year old native of Estonia started out in track and field in high school and ended up winning gold medals in both shot put and discuss in the 2006 World Junior Track and Field Championships in Beijing. Wanting to attend college in the United States, Hunt travelled to SMU in hopes of resurrecting the men’s track team under legendary coach Dave Wollman. Unfortunately, neither Hunt nor Wollman were able to find funding for a track team so in order to stay in the United States Hunt turned to the football field. Now 4 years later, Hunt approaches the NFL draft as one of the most intriguing prospects.
What they’re saying about him:
- CBSSports.com: “Naturally powerful defender who can simply bull-rush his opponent deep into the pocket. Big, strong and reasonably active hands to fight through blockers’ attempts at grasping a hold of him. Good hand-eye coordination and times his leaps well to aid in his kick-blocking prowess. Has emerged as a player the offense must account for on virtually every snap and yet remains a better athlete than football player, which speaks to his exciting upside.”
- NFL.com: ” Tall, thick but athletic lineman with loads of potential. Much quicker than you’d expect off the snap given his size, and his long first step helps him pressure the outside shoulder of tackles when outside and win the gap at three-technique. Shows the ability to anchor from both the 3-tech and 5-tech spots. Has the speed to run the arm and beat tackles off the edge. Fast and strong hands stun his man, extends his arms to keep leverage. Uses his length very well to keep blockers off his body. Plays contain well on the edge, pops off his block and swallows backs with his strong upper body. Long strides eat a lot of grass when closing to the quarterback. Good closing speed. Will chase plays downfield. Height and length allow him to affect quarterbacks’ vision when unable to reach him; they also make him an ideal interior player on the field goal block team. Flashes the ability to come off the ball hard and low in short-yardage situations despite his height. Good natural strength – can anchor and shed even when he loses the leverage battle. Varies the tempo of his pass rush well once the offensive line overplays his speed rush.”
- Has the size-speed-strength measurables and body type that all teams covet, could be successful as either a 5-technique defensive end in a 3-4 scheme or a left defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.
- Played all over SMU’s defense lining up at 5-technique, 3 technique and even some standing up or as 7-technique and was relatively disruptive from all positions
- Is a kick blocking specialist who can get skinny at the point of attack and use his enormous height to bat down the ball.
- Possess a decent first step but combined with his impressive strength makes it hard for offensive linemen to keep up.
- Is more of a straight line player, being 6’8″ severely limits his ability to turn the corner and offensive tackles can ride him out of the play. His height also makes him extremely susceptible to cut blocks.
- Has a pretty decent set of initial moves, but lacks much of a follow up repertoire; in other words if his first move doesn’t get him through he’s probably going to be walled off.
- Is wildly inconsistent, likely due to only playing football for 4 years. On some plays he would completely dominante his opponent and other times his opponents would dominate him. More refined offensive linemen will probably figure him out quickly until Hunt learns a more varied pass rushing repertoire
- At 25 is probably a one contract player, perhaps 2 if he very successful, which will limited his upside.
If drafted by the Packers:
Margus Hunt is the type of player that the Packers desperately need defensive end. Like I’ve mentioned before, defensive end and safety are the two most important positions in a 3-4 defense and great 3-4 defenses are typically highlighted by a great defensive end (Haloti Ngata in Baltimore, Justin Smith in San Francisco, JJ Watt in Houston and Calais Campbell in Arizona). The Packers have tried twice to find a star defensive end in Mike Neal and Jerel Worthy but both have significant question marks coming into the 2013 season. At worst Hunt would be valuable as a rotational player early on as CJ Wilson is also ready to enter his contract year and the Packers may look for more pass rush at the position. Furthermore, Jerel Worthy is almost certainly unlikely to play in the beginning of the season (and is a viable candidate for IR) and Mike Neal has a long history of injuries. That only leaves Mike Daniels, who is an odd fit at 3-4 defensive end. If the Packers did draft Hunt, expect to see him mostly on special teams and maybe on passing down initially as Hunt is still an incredibly raw talent. But if Hunt ultimately ends up becoming the player that many people project him to be, I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name along with Ngata, Smith and Watt as some of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the league.——————
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.