Oklahoma State Senior
40: 4.45 (estimated)
Displays very good lateral quickness and burst, able to make guys miss in space and can set up defenders well. Has quick feet and nice speed, and is quick to hit the hole at times. Is a capable receiver in the flat, and knows how to get yards after the catch. Has good strength for his size and flashes it at times. Can chip a pass rusher coming out of the backfield, but also able to square up a blitzing defender as well. Shows nice vision and runs with nice balance. Does his best work on draws and slants.
Can be too patient at times in the backfield and will do too much dancing instead of finding the lane and going. Lacks size and it shows often when he's asked to run between the tackle. Won't break tackles and at times his feet go dead upon contact. Can be tentative about contact, and doesn't do a great job finishing runs. Will miss some assignments in blitz pickup. Ball security has been an issue at times. Doesn't always show the balance and short-area burst you see on other runs.
There have been times when I've watched Hunter and saw him being another Tiki Barber, and there have been other times where I've watched him and he doesn't look like he'll be any better an NFL player than Travis Minor. More than likely he'll be somewhere in between. Missed a big chunk of his junior season, nagged by ankle and foot injuries. He finished that year with 8 appearances, rushing for 382 yards (4.3 avg), 1 touchdown, and caught 11 passes. Came back this past year, and rushed for 1548 yards (5.7 avg), 16 TDs, and caught 20 passes, which was very similar production to his sophomore All-American season (1555-6.5-16-22).
The games I saw last year where I wasn't overly impressed with his skills, I'm going to assume that was because of the injury. And while that injury needs to be checked out medically, considering the season he had this past year, I'm not overly concerned. Hunter is a quick back with good speed, and very shifty. And I think he can come in right away as a rookie and contribute as a third down back. He still needs polish in pass protection, but over the course of a season, I think he'll be able to improve and can be trusted for the most part in that role. He will likely start off as a change of pace runner, but eventually if he plays in the right scheme, he can take a larger workload. But I don't ever see him being a starter. He's more a guy that can reliably split carries with a more physical runner and get 10-15 carries, and could be a lead back in a two-back system, but he's not a true feature back. The upper end of his upside I think is being a player like Ahmad Bradshaw. I just question the durability to hold up consistently over the course of a 16-game season if he's asked to tote the rock more than 15-20 times a game. But at least you like the chances of him getting stronger as his career goes on like most NFL runners do.
Hunter would be a good fit in Atlanta because can immediately replace Norwood as the team's third runner and contribute on third downs. He probably won't get a ton of carries his first year, but if he becomes a more physical runner like Bradshaw has done in New York, he'll eventually work his way into the lineup and be a guy that in the Mike Mularkey offense can give you 5-10 carries off the bench and be a nice change of pace back. But unless the Falcons go to a more pass-oriented offense, he's going to be limited by his production as a runner, and instead his best value is probably catching 40-50 passes a game. He can be a better option than Snelling in the passing game because of his speed and quickness to make plays after the catch. Hunter would be valuable depth, but it would remain to be seen if he has upside to be a really valuable runner in Atlanta.
Hunter is a solid third down option for a team that should go off the board in the third round, with the possibility of sneaking into the end of the second round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.