This was a rather surprising pick to most Bengal fans due to the current depth of pass-rush specialists on the defensive front. They opted to increase that depth with the selection of Hunt in the second round. So, how will his presence improve the effectiveness of the Bengals' defensive line?
Hunt will be a bit of a project player due to his lack of experience at the defensive end position. However, he may have the greatest upside of any selection the Bengals made.
Standing at a towering 6'8" and weighing 277 pounds, Hunt's frame and length make him a formidable opponent against right tackles. He combines great burst with tremendous upper-body strength, which translates into an almost unstoppable bull rush.
He does need to work on lowering his pad level which is something that is very coachable at the NFL level. He should fit perfectly in Cincinnati's defensive line rotation as he continues to develop.
Because other Bengal players demand double-teams, Hunt will likely be left one-on-one on the outside at the 6-technique. This is very close to the same scheme that he played in college; however, he will be doubled significantly less often in the NFL.
Hunt will be able to collapse the pocket rapidly on the quarterback from the left defensive end position. This will allow each member of the defensive line to have a shot at bringing down the quarterback.
One current NFL player that Hunt compares to is Corey Wootton of the Chicago Bears. A 6-technique at the left defensive end position in a 4-3 defense, Wootton emerged in 2012 as an effective pass-rusher, recording 7.0 sacks.
Hunt compares nicely to Wootton due to his similar size, length, power and surprising speed off the line.
Let's break down Wootton's ability to get to the quarterback in effort to get a glimpse of what we may see out of Hunt at the NFL level.
Wootton begins this play lined up to the outside of the right tackle which is called the 6-technique. He will attempt to burst quickly off the line and beat the tackle to the outside.
As he speeds around the edge, Wootton notices that the running back is assigned to help in pass protection on his side. He sees the back slide toward him on the outside of the tackle.
Now, with the outside route blocked off, Wootton does a great job of rotating his hips to realign himself so that he can cut back toward the inside.
As he bull rushes the tackle, he keeps one arm free as he approaches the quarterback. This will allow him to disrupt the play even if he cannot get the sack.
He keeps his legs churning to get within striking distance, then uses his free arm to hook the throwing arm of the quarterback.
This allows him to jar the ball loose. Wootton does a nice job keeping hold of the quarterback throughout the remainder of the play.
As Wootton continues to hold on to the quarterback, the ball is recovered by another defensive lineman. Wootton has now gotten a sack and forced a fumble that got the ball back to the Bears offense.
These types of plays are exactly what the Bengals can expect from Hunt as he continues to develop into a more consistent pass-rusher at the NFL level.
The Bengals already had one of the more dominant defensive lines in the NFL before the draft and it has just become that much scarier.
All screen shots courtesy of NFL Game Rewind.
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