After the dust of the NFL draft has settled and the top four running backs in your rookie draft are gone, there is a large group of backs that jumble together in most rankings out there. While there’s a clear tier drop off after Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon and Christian McCaffrey, Kareem Hunt from Toledo can make a strong case for that spot as the fifth best running back in this class.
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Statistics from sports-reference.com.
Hunt was a full four-year starter for the Rockets, but only saw significant carries in six games his freshmen year. Over those six games he averaged 21 carries for 131 yards which would be a rate of 6.2 yards per rush and averaged a touchdown per game. For his sophomore campaign, he would crush these numbers and lead the MAC conference in rushing, posting 205 carries for 1,631 yards and an eye popping 8.0 yards per rush. He also added 16 touchdowns in the 10 games he played, five of which came in the bowl game that season where Hunt went for 271 yards.
2015 was a bumpy year for Hunt, he was benched for the first two games for “violating team rules” and dealt with nagging hamstring and ankle problems. He still managed a respectable 973 yards on 178 carries, with 11 touchdowns. Returning to full strength in his senior campaign he once again achieved top conference honors, rushing 262 times for 1,475 yards and 10 touchdowns. He improved on his receiving chops by hauling in 41 catches for another 400 yards. Hunt ended his college career with 20 games of 100 yards or more.
Kareem’s metric spider web leaves a lot to be desired from a measurables stand point. However, while he is not jumping off the page here, he does come in near or above average in all metrics except that pesky forty time. His height is a bit low for a running back and his weight is just about average. He does showcase large hands in the 76th percentile, which will help with catching and holding on to the football. He also showed good burst metrics with a 76th percentile vertical jump and above-average broad jump workout numbers. Clicking over to comparisons you will see a 99% measurable match to the college touchdown maverick Kenneth Dixon.
Again, per Player Profiler, Hunt is hurt by his metric profile. His 19th percentile SPARQ is very concerning, and paired with a 58th percentile dominator rating it shows that while he had great stats in college, they were still only a small part of his team’s total production. Hunt has low speed scores and even lower agility scores. His burst metrics are the only shining point (in the 68th percentile) and that’s showcased on his tape time and time again.
If you never heard of the word “metric” or “combine” and you simply watched tape of Kareem Hunt you would swear that he had top tier burst metrics and looks like he weighs a light 200 pounds instead of the 215 he weighed in at the combine.
Hunt shows great burst through the line coupled with an excellent jump cut to find the open lane. When the lane isn’t clear he shows great ability to work through the trash at the line of scrimmage and come out for a nice gain. He continually keeps his feet moving, driving for more yards and does not shy away from contact in the slightest. Hunt shows that he can run inside our bounce plays outside if needed with great burst around the edge. He also is very adept at being patient while his blocks setup and is very good at following his blocks.
Once in the open field Hunt showcases excellent vision to continue the run, setting up defenders down the field. He also has above average ability blocking defenders and keeps his feet moving to take them on. Hunt can get a little jumpy behind the line and slightly indecisive at times. He’s also not the most elusive player but has some tackle breaking ability. He has ok balance but looks like he runs very light on his feet. Hunt also shows ability as a pass catcher and looks very fluid turning upfield on a check down or screen.
Landing spot will spell either success or disaster for Kareem Hunt. If he can manage to fall into a zone blocking scheme with a decent line he could be in line for early down work very quickly in his career. He’s an extremely well rounded prospect and shows that he can just do it all. Currently RB8 in April Rookie ADP, Hunt is going right at the back end of the second round. That is an excellent spot to take a flyer running back if you missed out on the top tier players at the top of the first.
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