NFL Prospect Profile: Margus Hunt (DE, SMU)
Posted by Sal Marino on Thursday, February 28, 2013
Enter Margus Hunt: A 6'8, 277 pound mountain of an athlete. Margus was originally brought to the states to resurrect SMU's now defunct track and field program. The standout Olympic level discus and shot putter would then turn his attention to football, where his immense size and athleticism have the entire draft community buzzing.
Year in and year out, we always have these guys with limited football experience, or mediocre production who crush the athleticism drills at the combine. Some of them blossom into incredible players (Jason Pierre-Paul, and his infinite backflips!). Others look like Tarzan, but they play like Jane.(Vernon Gholston, I'm looking at you, JANE).
So where does Margus the mountain fit in with all of this? Lets take a look at his strengths and weaknesses as a prospect.
Obviously the first thing that pops off the game tape is how massive Margus is. He's 6'8 and 277 pounds already, with really long arms, and a huge frame capable of adding much more weight, and cranked out a 4.6 second 40 yard dash, along with a nearly 35 inch vertical and 38 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. He has a similar body type to Calais Campbell, who was a similar weight, but is now near the 300 pound mark. Margus runs much faster, but he can play as a left end in a base 4-3 right now, kicking inside on passing downs, and could easily fill his frame out to fit as a 5 technique in a 3-4 defense.
Margus has decent ability to bend and get low on the edge to generate a rush, despite not having much in the way of counter moves yet, he does have strong hands and the long arms necessary to keep linemen out of his chest. For a guy with his height, he is also pretty quick off the snap. Hunt has huge potential as a pass deflector in the passing lanes, Ala J.J. Watt. He needs to be coached up in this area, as he is only set in his mind on getting to the QB at this juncture. The potential is definitely there, as he's been a dominant special teams force, blocking a whopping 17 kicks in his 4 years of football.
At his current weight, Margus will have a tough time setting the edge in the run game. He has a tendency to let himself play a little too high, which is the first thing coaches will have to address at his height. Despite his pure speed, he's not someone you will want playing in space or his lateral agility and change of direction speed will be exposed.
Although he has only been playing the game of football for 4 years, Margus will be 26 before the season starts. For a player who has so much to learn, it is a bit concerning that he will be 4-5 years older than the average rookie.
Margus Hunt has some incredibly impressive physical gifts that can't be taught, and virtually all of his weaknesses that can be taught. Such an inexperienced player being 26 years old will be the biggest scare, as is perceived upside might not be as high as some think.
How quickly Margus takes to coaching and how hard he hits the weight room (judging by his incredible 38 reps of 225 pounds with really long arms, means he works VERY hard.) will ultimately determine how good Margus can be. I think he is an interesting prospect that more than a few teams would be willing to develop, even if they have to spend their first round pick.
Ultimately, I think he grows into being a 300+ pounder, playing as a 3-4 defensive end, one that can actually generate a good pass rush with his rare speed on the edge. I don't think he has the hips or flexibility to ever be a dominant pass rusher, and should be kept with his hand in the dirt as well. Calais Campbell with more pure speed is a good comparison, and Campbell had a lot of the same concerns.
HOMER ALERT: Margus might be a bit of a reach at 15 for the New Orleans Saints, but his upside justifies it if the staff feels he'll take to NFL level coaching in ample time. I expect him to fall into the final 3rd of the first round once the dust settles.