Disciplined and heady defender that knows his assignments. Has a decent feel for moving in space. Gets good depth on his zone drops. Shows ability to make plays in pursuit and also capable of breaking down and bringing down ballcarrier at the point of attack. Most effective between the hashmarks and willing to step up and fill against the run. Can take on lead blocker and make stops.
Limited speed and range and it shows when he's working in space. Lacks the burst to close in space. Will miss stops there, particularly against quicker backs and receivers due to the lack of closing burst. Struggles in man coverage because he only has average hips and lacks burst when covering the flat or middle of the field. Is a bit undersized as a tackler and will miss some stops because of that. Tries to run around blocks at times at the point of attack.
Hunter is your typical Iowa linebacker, not the most superb athlete, but well coached and understands assignments and isn't going to look lost on the field. A three-year starter at WILL linebacker, combining for 259 tackles, 8 for loss, 3 INTs, 10 PBUs, and 5 fumble recoveries.
I think Hunter is probably a better fit playing inside in a 3-4 at the next level. He needs to get bigger to better fill against the inside run, but there his limitations in space probably won't be as obvious. And he's smart enough and understands the angles well enough to get by in a zone-heavy scheme. He'll never be a playmaker, but I think he can eventually develop into a capable complementary starter. He'll probably have to pull his weight early on special teams, but by his third year, I think he should be knocking on the door as a starter. If he plays beside a dynamic MLB that will make him even more effective. He's the guy that can take on the trash and free up his teammate to make plays. He can also play in a 4-3, but I think he'll be much more limited there. I think he's smart and versatile enough to play all 3 positions in that scheme, but his upside is much more limited because of only so-so speed, burst, and range. In a scheme that likes to drop its linebackers in zone coverage a bit will probably be a better fit for him. Most likely he'll be a career backup, but has enough smarts and instincts to be a decent starter down the road.
Hunter can add depth in Atlanta, but doesn't have the ideal range and speed to really be considered a strong candidate to be a starter. He can develop down the road into a decent stopgap player, but I think he's probably a better choice to be groomed behind Lofton at MLB than playing either outside LB position. But he can potentially be developed to add depth at all 3 positions, sort of like Coy Wire.
Hunter is worth a late round pick, probably in the sixth or seventh round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Point of Attack: 3.0
Pass Rush: 2.0
Scouting reports of the linebackers in the 2011 Draft.
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