Round 3: Toledo RB Kareem Hunt – 5-10, 190 – 4.50 – Senior
Previous Pick: San Diego State CB Demontae Kazee
Alabama tight end O.J. Howard wasn’t the only offensive weapon the Bucs were scouting hard at the 2017 Reese’s Senior Bowl, and they pluck another Senior Bowl star in the versatile Hunt in the third round. With Doug Martin’s future in Tampa Bay in doubt due to a three-game suspension stemming from drug use to start the 2017 season, the Bucs need a consistent, dependable back that can run and catch the ball. Hunt is that type of player.
At Toledo, Hunt only missed two games in four years due to a hamstring injury, which happened during his junior season, and he didn’t lose a fumble in 782 carries for the Rockets, which is incredible. Moreover, Hunt was more involved in the passing game as a senior, catching a career-high 41 passes and didn’t have a single drop in 2016.
Hunt’s Toledo Career Rushing Stats
2016: 262 carries for 1,475 yards (5.6 avg.) with 10 TDs and a long of 47 yards
2015: 178 carries for 973 yards (5.5 avg.) with 12 TDs and a long of 41 yards
2014: 205 carries for 1,631 yards (8.0 avg.) with 16 TDs and a long of 91 yards
2013: 137 carries for 866 yards (6.3 avg.) with 6 TDs and a long of 6 yards
Hunt’s Toledo Career Receiving Stats
2016: 41 catches for 403 yards (9.8 avg.) with 1 TD and a long of 71 yards
2015: 11 catches for 45 yards (4.1 avg.) with 0 TDs and a long of 9 yards
2014: 9 catches for 39 yards (4.3 avg.) with 0 TDs and a long of 10 yards
2013: 12 catches for 68 yards (5.7 avg.) with 0 TDs and a long of 15 yards
Hunt set a school record with 4,945 yards and 44 touchdowns 782 carries in his Toledo career and didn’t average less than 5.5 yards per carry in any season. Scouts marvel at his vision and his amazing balance, which allows him to break tackles and make defenders miss. In fact, he led all FBS running backs with forcing 100 missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus, who had Hunt as the highest-graded running back in 2016.
“I’ve got great balance and a low center to the ground,” Hunt said at the Senior Bowl. “I just know how to angle my body just a little bit to stay on my feet and get my legs churning. That’s the biggest thing. You’re going to break tackles if you keep your legs pumping and pretty much you have to be patient sometimes and be smart and just know what you’re up against.”
Aside from his sure hands in the passing game and his 118-yard performance in the game, which earned him Most Outstanding Offensive Player status, the most notable aspect about Hunt at the Senior Bowl was his weight. After playing at 233 pounds during his junior year in 2015, Hunt checked in at a fit and trim 208 pounds at the Senior Bowl weigh-in. Hunt played at 215 during his senior season, but has been working out and training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. under the supervision of former Cleveland Browns running back and former Bucs running backs coach Earnest Byner.
Hunt told the Cleveland News-Herald that he would be weighing in between 212-215 at the NFL Scouting Combine.
“If anything, it’s a testament to how hard he’s been working,” Dan Saffron, Hunt’s agent, told the News-Herald. “Teams now know he can play at that weight, so I think it helped him showing that range. Some teams might prefer him lighter, some a little heavier. Now they know he can be either.”
Marquell Blackwell, who was a star quarterback at the University of South Florida, is Hunt’s position coach at Toledo and believes Hunt can be a do-it-all back in the NFL.
“First, I think he has an unbelievable feel for the position,” Blackwell said. “He runs the ball with toughness and he can make every run. He’s an inside runner. He’s an outside runner. He catches the ball out of the backfield and he understands pass protection. He’s a three-down back and you don’t get a lot of that anymore.”
A few weeks ago, PewterReport.com did an in-depth film breakdown of who Kareem Hunt is a prospect and how he could fit in the league as part of the site’s weekly Cover 3 column.
Click below to view Tampa Bay’s fourth-round pick in 2017.