On Friday, the Philadelphia Eagles announced the signing of Phillip Hunt, the Canadian Football League's top pass rusher, from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Philadelphia signed Hunt to a three year deal after watching his breakout season where he had a league high 16 sacks.
When asked why he chose the Eagles over teams like the Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots, Hunt responded, "The scheme fits me perfectly with my frame. There are guys here like Trent Cole and Brandon Graham, guys who are shorter in stature. We create great leverage and we are also able to bend the corner at the curb and get to the quarterback really quickly. This fits my style of play very well and I look forward to contributing in a big way."
At 6'1", 250 pounds, Hunt is another undersized speed rusher the Eagles can throw at the opposing quarterback.
Hunt reportedly ran in the 4.7 range at his Pro Day, including an astounding 41.5 inch vertical.
According to a few scouting reports that I found before the 2009 National Football League Draft, Hunt is very similar to Brandon Graham, as both use their low center of gravity to drive the tackle back. Both have great motors and a quick first step, but unlike Graham, Hunt has long arms, which he can use in open field tackles.
At the collegiate level at Houston, the same school as Kevin Kolb, Hunt was a four year letterman, finishing his career as the school's all-time leader in sacks (34) while earning all-conference selections in three consecutive seasons from 2006 to 2008. He was also the 2008 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year after leading the conference in sacks (14). Hunt finished his career with 54 tackles for losses.
Will Phillip Hunt make the team?
In college at Houston, Hunt lined up wider, as opposed to directly opposite the tackle, something Jim Wasburn wants out of his defensive ends, so it is a good fit.
Hunt, though, will have to show his talent and production in both mini camp and training camp.
He will join a packed defensive end group with Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Juqua Parker, Daryl Tapp, Daniel Teo-Nesheim, Ricky Sapp, Victor Abiamiri and any other defensive end selected in the upcoming draft.
Hunt may have a shot at making the opening 53 man roster if the Eagles decide to keep six defensive ends. Cole, Graham, Parker and Tapp are locks, but the remaining two spots could come down to Teo-Nesheim, Sapp and Hunt. With Teo-Nesheim showing next to nothing in his limited playing time, Hunt could certainly "wow" the coaches.
Could Hunt be the next Cameron Wake (former CFL star, currently one of the best pass rushers in the league)?