Margus Hunt Looks Like a Natural Fit for the Pack in the 2013 NFL Draft

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Margus Hunt Looks Like a Natural Fit for the Pack in the 2013 NFL Draft
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The Green Bay Packers will have a number of choices when they finally are able to make the 26th selection of the first round in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Will the Packers pick someone like running back like Eddie Lacy of Alabama? Or maybe a player like linebacker Kevin Minter of LSU or safety Matt Elam of Florida?

Another possibility is defensive end Margus Hunt of SMU. In fact, about a month ago, I had the Packers selecting Hunt in the first round in a mock draft I did for the Packers. 

That was before the NFL Scouting Combine. Believe me, Hunt did not disappoint scouts in Indianapolis with his performance there.

Hunt led all defensive linemen in the 40-yard dash, as he was clocked at 4.6. Hunt also topped the linemen in the bench press, as he had 38 reps of lifting 225 pounds.

Did I mention that Hunt goes 6'8", 277 pounds?

Hunt certainly impressed Mike Mayock of NFL Network, who now lists the Estonia native as his second-rated 3-4 defensive end prospect, only behind Star Lotulelei of Utah, who most believe will be a top-10 pick in the draft.

There is no one I respect more than Mayock when it comes to college prospect evaluations in the media for the NFL draft.

Now there is no doubt that Hunt is still a bit raw when it comes to his football expertise, but he is learning quickly.

Hunt didn't come to the United States until 2007, when he first arrived at SMU. Initially, he came over because of his prowess in track and field. Hunt won the gold medals in both the shot put and discus events at the 2006 World Junior Track and Field Championships in Beijing.

In addition to that, Hunt also won the 2005 European Junior discus title. But when the track possibilities didn't work out at SMU, Hunt turned his attention to football.

In his freshman year at SMU, Hunt mostly played on special teams, where he had seven blocked kicks. He also had a sack versus Nevada in the Mustangs' win Hawaii Bowl.

As a sophomore, Hunt started all 13 games, and had 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, and three more blocked kicks.

As a junior, Hunt only started two games, but made a name for himself again in the BBVA Compass Bowl, when he had three sacks in SMU's win over Pittsburgh. Plus, Hunt blocked four more kicks that year, too.

Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

As a senior, Hunt had 31 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, one interception and three more blocked kicks. Hunt was also named first team All-Conference USA.

In the Hawaii Bowl, Hunt had a sack and also forced two fumbles against Fresno State.

Hunt got to show off his athleticism at the Senior Bowl, where the Packers were one of the teams who interviewed the former Mustang. Hunt started out slowly at the Senior Bowl practices for the North team, but got better as the week wore on in practice and in drills.

Hunt has quickly moved up the draft boards, and his performance at the combine has only helped that rise to prominence in the draft.

What's there not to like about Hunt? Two things, actually. One, as mentioned previously, he is still a bit rough around the edges due to his late-learning process about the game of football. Also, Hunt is older than most prospects, as he's 25 years old now.

But the positives far outweigh the negatives with Hunt. He is fast and strong, plus he has a massive 82-inch wing span. Hunt can also rush the passer effectively, while also playing the run well...sideline to sideline. And he continues to get better.

Plus, Hunt is a demon on special teams.

To me, he's a cross between J.J. Watt and Ted Hendricks. 

Add to that, the Packers want to get taller at the defensive end position. In an article written six weeks ago, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talks about that.

In the story, defensive line coach Mike Trgovac of the Packers is quoted as saying, "I think we’d like to get a little taller guy, someone with more length in there." 

At 6'8", Hunt would certainly help out in that regard.

Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel also did a story recently about Hunt and a couple other prospects. In the article, defensive line coach Bert Hill of SMU talks about Hunt. Hill used be a defensive line coach with the Detroit Lions in the NFL as well.

"There are times when he's unblockable," said Hill. "Then there were times on film when it looked like he didn't really know he was playing football. The lights came on for him about halfway through senior year. The guy just started playing lights-out.

"I was in the NFL for 13 years and I never saw a guy like him. Not with his abilities that he has right now, no, I didn't see a guy."

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers could definitely use someone like Hunt on his defense. I'm also sure special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum would love to have Hunt on his field goal and punt blocking units, too. 

Bottom line, when the Packers have the 26th selection in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, they will have to take a strong look at Hunt, if he is indeed still on the board.

 

 

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