I wasn’t really sure what to expect on Kareem Hunt; thus far, he’s been one of the most polarizing backs in the 2017 class. I’ve heard analysts completely Dismiss him, and I’ve heard others heap on the praise. When something like that happens, it makes me really anxious to take a look and see for myself.
Even though Hunt is listed at 6’0″ 225 pounds (right in the prototypical window,) he carries himself like a smaller back. While it’s not a tremendously useful scouting term, the first word that comes to mind watching Hunt run is “slippery.” He is quick to hit a hole and makes himself small at the point he goes through the line. I saw several instances where defenders lost track of him, and he squirted out the other side of a hole for a big gain. Hunt is also very adept in the passing game. He is smooth catching the ball and very elusive once he’s got it. Now here’s the rub: Hunt’s floor appears to be that of a pass-catching change of pace back at the next level. But I don’t think that’s where his ceiling is capped.
On top of having the elusive traits you look for in a smaller back, Hunt also has physical running in his bag of tricks. He appears to be undersized but at the point of contact he delivers a healthy wallop to defenders. He uses a stiff arm well, has great balance, and continues his leg drive through the tackle, gaining extra yards. Hunt even showed well picking up the blitz. All of this was surprising because of his ability to play like a much smaller back.
On the downside, Hunt gets caught in the backfield a lot for such a dynamic runner. When this happens, it’s not the offensive line letting him down; instead it seems to stem from indecisiveness. Hunt occasionally dances behind the line of scrimmage, giving ground to try to find the hole, and ultimately gets caught for a loss. He also misses more one-cut big play opportunities than you want to see. The easy answer is that Hunt doesn’t carry his size well, and he projects out to be another cookie cutter change of pace back in the NFL.
That assessment is fair, but I don’t think it tells the whole story. He may not display an elite trait, but he does do a little of everything. I’m definitely a check in the win column for Kareem Hunt.