Positives: Hunter is very well built for a smaller back and I have noticed that short running backs who are well built tend to have quality NFL careers. He really re-emerged as a great running back this year on Oklahoma State’s dynamic offense and his ability to consistently gain quality yardage in the running game is what opened up the offense. He has great burst, impressive footwork, great vision and he is very shifty as a runner without dancing in the backfield. He is short but still runs with good pad level and runs patiently and lets his blocks set up in front of him and then makes one cut and is gone. He doesn’t dance in the backfield and waste steps. He can run through arm tackles and shows consistent ability to catch passes out of the backfield. Shows some ability as a pass blocker.
Negatives: Has had injury concerns in the past and durability is a question mark with him, especially if he is a feature back. Sometimes he allows his blocks to set up for too long instead of attacking and getting what he can, preferring to wait for a seam to form for him to cut towards. He doesn’t have the straight line speed to consistently rip off huge chunks of yardage if he hits the second level, and he doesn’t have much in the way of power outside of running through arm tackles. Has had some fumble issues and could stand to improve his ball security and his pass blocking.
Overall: I really like Hunter as a prospect. He has some things he needs to work on, but ball security and pass blocking are both very coachable. I love his burst, his vision and his footwork as a running back and those are three integral skills for being an effective running back in the NFL. I think he can be a very effective running back in the right offense, especially a pass-happy offense. I think a team like the Patriots, Colts or Packers could really take their respective offenses to the next level with him as their starter because of his ability to consistently gain yardage on the ground as well as catch passes out of the backfield. And once he comes around as a pass blocker he could very well be an every down running back in those offenses assuming he can stay healthy. That makes him very valuable.
Projection: 2nd round. He might make it to the 3rd round depending on how much the running backs in this class slide but I think he has a great chance to come off in the late 2nd round because of all the teams that could use a talented running back who can catch the ball out of the backfield.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
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