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Packers Waste No Time Scouting Tall Defensive Lineman

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Packers Waste No Time Scouting Tall Defensive Lineman

While at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. this week, the Green Bay Packers interviewed SMU defensive lineman Margus Hunt, according to Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com.

Hunt, the 42nd-ranked overall player in this year's Draft class by NFLDraftScout.com, is an intriguing player for a number of reasons.

First off, he's a native of Estonia that came to SMU by the way of track and field as a shot put and discus thrower. That alone would make for a good storyline, but the Hunt narrative doesn't end there.

Not only did Hunt find his calling in football, he just so happened to the be the tallest player that measured in at the Senior Bowl at 6' 8 1/4".

Using his height to his advantage, Hunt blocked 17 kicks (punts, field goals, extra points) during his career at SMU, the second-most in NCAA history.

To that end, perhaps it's no coincidence that the Packers were doing their due diligence into someone who's not only a player at a position of need, but someone who provides a quality the Packers don't have much of on the defensive line––height.

In an interview published at JSOnline last week, Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac indicated that Green Bay might be in the market for a defensive lineman that provides a new tangible quality they're lacking.

"I think we’d like to get a little taller guy, someone with more length in there," Trgovac is quoted as saying.

Hunt had a terrific senior season at SMU, one that saw him make 31 tackles, 11.5 for a loss, eight sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and three blocked kicks. His season was capped off with a dominating performance in the Hawaii Bowl by racking up three tackles for a loss, two sacks, two forced fumbles and a safety in a win over Fresno State, a performance that got him named to Cheesehead TV's All-Bowl team.

In the article at WalterFootball.com, Hunt explained how he gained experience playing as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense at SMU, but at the NFL level, he'd probably have to put on more weight on a frame that currently carries 277 lbs.

A follow-up article by Campell reads, "Some 3-4 teams would like to see Hunt add 20 pounds to be a stouter five-technique defensive end."

It certainly wouldn't be a stretch to think that the Packers could be one of those teams. Furthermore, it's worth noting that Hunt may already be off the board by the time the Packers draft in the second round.

Does that mean he could end up being a first-round draft choice? Only time will tell.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (22) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jay's picture

unless he has excellent technique, his height could actually hurt him in the run game by causing him to lose leverage.

Kevin's picture

exactly my concern

Kevin's picture

What I'd like to know is if being this tall would be a disadvantage. You hear sometimes of tackles who are so tall that they are maybe a little awkward in technique or they give up leverage easily.

some guy's picture

Like some other posters are saying, it depends on the player. If he does his job properly it's a great asset - see Calais Campbell of the Cardinals for instance. But that dude's a hard worker along with being a physical freak and we can't assume any random tall guy is going to turn into him. Assuming he was somehow matched up against an OL who was exactly equal in strength, skill, technique, etc. (which of course would never happen, football players just aren't symmetrical like that) but was 3 inches shorter, Hunt's height would likely be a disadvantage.

Only one way to find out. Someone's going to draft him, so keep an eye on him wherever he ends up.

Jamie's picture

I'm not concerned about his leverage or awkwardness, because IMO those kinds of things will be obvious when he's scouted. If he's got serious leverage or awkwardness issues, our guys will see it and value him accordingly.

I will say from the little I've seen of him, he was a natural bender and didn't have problems maintains leverage against constant double teams. He was also very light on his feet and not awkward in the slightest. Now I'm no scout, so take that for what it's worth.

A player like Calais Campbell comes to mind, who is an exceptional Dlineman at just under 6'8. He's one of the exceptions, but I'm not sure there are very many college Dlineman who are that tall period. Too few period to necessarily say they won't succeed in the NFL.

Mojo's picture

Pack already had a d-lineman with pro-size, but he was abducted by the Colts. Would have like to seen if L. Guy would have panned out. If this Hunt dude has a good combine you'll probably have to take in the first, if you want him.

some guy's picture

I don't think Lawrence is any more than just a, well, Guy. DL wasn't exactly a position of strength for this team, even after spending a couple picks on Daniels and Worthy, so if Guy was stuck on the practice squad I'd assume it's for a reason.

QOTSA1's picture

Devin Taylor of South Carolina is another 3-4 DE prospect who is close in height at 6'7". He had a great performance in the East-West Shrine game.

dawg's picture

Hows his pad level?

IowaPackFan's picture

Oh, you.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

He'll blow up the combine and be a top 15 pick. Somebody's gonna fall in love.

GBP 4 LIFE

Derek's picture

I don't think a guy has to be 6'8" but a JJ Watt type size of 6'6" would be nice. How about that Gholston from Michigan State, I just read he's 6'7". had some behavior problems at MSU but is rated a first day talent, and has the size and mean streak we need.

ted, of bill and ted's picture

just watched the first half of his film against fresno state...granted, it is fresno state, but...

a) his intial point of contact pad level looked pretty good...like jamie said, it looked like he's got natural bend and he's very light on his feet

b) despite all the o-lineman looking bigger than him, the only time i saw him move backwards was when they double teamed him...if he can add 20 pounds without losing too much speed he could be a real force

c) fitz is right, someone will fall in love with him at the combine and he will probably go first round

ted, of bill and ted's picture

also, it looks like his motor runs constantly...he goes hard every play

djbonney138's picture

Fresno State wasn't too shabby this year. They won me a lot of money covering spreads.

kennypayne's picture

A 26 year-old first round pick? Seriously?

Tarynfor12's picture

So what..he has what all others on the DL don't have...strength,nasty,pocket killer,pass rush,size,motor,double-teamer and thankfully no finesse.

KennyPayne's picture

TT cut loose Jenkins, Wells, and now likely Jennings as they approached or were 30 years old.

So if we draft a 26 year old in the 1st round we can expect to keep him for 4 years. Great.

Brian's picture

From a different site's Senior Bowl practice coverage as of Tuesday morning:

"It’s also been a disappointing week so far for SMU DE Margus Hunt, who certainly looks the part, but so far he’s just been popping up out of his stance and looking for the ball and has shown little upfield acceleration."

CSS's picture

I've read the same thing, and Mike Mayock specifically referenced his ability to bend at the waist and use proper leverage as a concern headed into the Senior Bowl and combine. That means Mayock has seen some poor technique and questionable flexibility considering Hunt's shear strength. He's going to be over-drafted as an athlete in the hopes that some position coach can teach him to be a football player.

leo's picture

I've watched some tape of Hunt in youtube and he was really impressive. I'm no draft expert but I saw a big fast agressive DE. The only time he was neutralized was against Texas A&M, against Luke Joeckel (Joeckel dominated but he rarely moved Hunt out of position).
But as Always...IN TED WE TRUST!

imfubared's picture

I agree with the defensive end need maybe not him?

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