SMU DE is coming for NFL Quarterbacks next year
It's never too early to start thinking about next year's draft. Not every player on CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman's "Freak List" is eligible to be drafted next year, but the list is a good starting point for predicting players who will dominate draft talk in 2013. Feldman's No. 1 freak is the kind of player who has the potential to redefine what is possible at the annual event.
Leading the list is SMU DE Margus Hunt. Hunt is 6'8" 280 with an 82" wingspan. He can also bench 225 35 times, which is ridiculous at that arm length. SMU track coach Dave Wollman predicts that Hunt will run a 4.6 40-yard-dash and bench 225 45 times at the combine next year.
Those numbers would blow away the measurables of 2012 combine star Dontari Poe, who went 11th overall to Kansas City despite poor tape at Memphis. Hunt projects as a 4-3 end, which is an increasingly tough position to find in the draft. The skyrocketing stock of Bruce Irvin, Chandler Jones and Shea McClellin, the top three 4-3 ends drafted last month, shows just how much teams coveted players with upside who fit that position. It's not difficult to imagine the Minnesota Vikings or Miami Dolphins taking Hunt in the top 10 next year if they don't improve greatly this season.
Wollman also raved about Hunt's pure athleticism, calling him "the most kinetic aware of any athlete I've ever had", which includes 19 Olympians. Hunt won the gold medal in the shot put and the discus at the 2006 World Junior Championships, the first athlete to ever win gold in both events in the competition. The Estonian had no experience playing American football until 2007, which puts an exclamation point on his virtually unlimited potential.
Even if Hunt is too raw to play a big role on defense early in his inevitable NFL career, he'll make an instant impact on special teams. He has blocked 14 kicks in his three years playing football at SMU. With four more this year, he'll break the NCAA record for combined blocked kicks in a career. That ability will just be the cherry on the sundae for the team that gets this future household name in draft circles.