Margus Hunt: How Will Cincinnati's Newest DE Fare in the Pros?
When playing Madden on Playstation, you’ve probably enjoyed the “create-a-player” mode where you could customize physical freaks who are 6’8”, 277 pounds, with the speed of a wide receiver and the strength of a nose tackle. Those superhuman fantasies are always fun to entertain and see running around in the digital world.
But in reality, guys like that don’t exist—right?
Well, they didn’t until the “Eastern Block” came into town all the way from Estonia.
Margus Hunt is a physical freak who came to SMU with a background in track and field. His football skills and understanding of the game are extremely raw, and he happens to be a bit on the older side at 25 years old.
One of the more intriguing facts about Hunt, aside from his insane measurables, would be his propensity for blocking kicks. During his career at SMU, he managed to break an NCAA record with 17 blocked kicks. This stat is simply amazing considering a good career for a block specialist would be around three or four blocked kicks.
Hunt’s pro potential is as unlimited as they come. He has a lot rough spots and tends to be a bit stiff, but he still found ways to be productive with his incredible size, strength and quickness. It’s not likely Hunt walks into the facility as a full-time starter, but he should make his presence known immediately in some capacity.
With a unique case like Margus, it’s hard to accurately project his career in the NFL. As a defensive starter, he could potentially struggle. But struggle is relative for a guy with his tools; some of his limitations may never be corrected, but you can find solace in the idea that he will always be a deadly threat at blocking kicks and should be a dynamo on all special teams units at the very least.
It’s unlikely that Hunt will start in his first year, as he needs time to develop his skills and polish his game all around. He will be surrounded by a tremendous amount of talent on the defensive line in Cincy, which is an invaluable resource in his development.
Hunt’s initial contributions in Cincinnati will be in the realm of special teams, where we know the type of impact he can have there. It should be no surprise now if the Bengals lead the league in blocked kicks in 2013. He also will be a scary weapon running down on punts and kickoffs.
It’s hard to say when or how the Bengals will find a way to get Hunt on the field for their defensive unit, but it should be exciting to watch whenever and however it does happen.
Grade the selection
When you can get a talented prospect like this in the second round, you have done a good job hedging your bets against bust potential while maximizing upside. There’s a possibility we look back on this pick in four years as the steal of the draft; at the same time, there’s also a chance we look back on it and just say, "Oh well, at least they tried."
All things considered, the risk vs. reward of Hunt being selected with the 53rd overall pick has to work in the Bengals’ favor.
My one minor issue here is that Cincinnati is already stacked and loaded with guys who can come off the edge.
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