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LSU Football 2015 NFL Draft Profiles: Danielle Hunter

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Easily the most intriguing member of LSU's 2015 NFL class.

Do y'all think Hunter works out? I bet he works out.
Do y'all think Hunter works out? I bet he works out.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Danielle Hunter

Position: Defensive End
Combine Height/Weight: 6-5, 251 pounds
LSU Listed Height/Weight: 6-6, 240
Hand Size: 10.3 inches
Arm Length: 35.5 inches
40-Yard Dash Time: 4.57
Bench-Press Reps (of 225 pounds): 25
Vertical Jump: 36.5 inches
Broad Jump: 130 inches
Short/Long Shuttle: 4.31/11.78
3-Cone Drill: 6.95 seconds

2014 Season: 73 tackles, 13.0 tackles for loss (1.5 sacks) and six pass break-ups.

Strengths

A near-perfect prototype of the NFL edge pass-rushing specialist...a tall, lean defensive end with long arms...in tremendous physical shape...a dynamic run defender...uses his arms to stack and shed tackles, hustles and pursues incredibly hard down the line...tremendous timing in getting his hands up to bat passes...great gap discipline...very rarely caught out of position...was given contain responsibilities, not only against mobile quarterbacks, but also against teams that challenged LSU's defense with various sweep motions...diagnoses and reacts quickly in screen and play-action situations.

Weaknesses

Incredibly raw as a pass-rusher...had no real counter-move beyond a speed rush, which he very rarely unleashed...so productive overall that the low sack numbers really stand out...too often tried to hand-fight with tackles, as opposed to relying on his speed...could be engulfed in the running game if an offensive lineman was able to get his hands on him.

Verdict

Hunter is a rare prospect, but not in the way you'd think. Players that fit his mold are typically great pass-rushers who struggle in run defense. Hunter is the exact opposite. All steak, very little sizzle. He's a tremendous run-defender that uses his strength to overcome his lack of bulk, is rarely out of position and pursues incredibly hard. But he has a long ways to go in terms of getting to the quarterback, and that's reflected in his low sack numbers. Some of that was due to LSU sliding him inside at times, and asking him to contain due to his athleticism, but the fact remains, just 1.5 sacks despite being on the field more than just about any other member of the LSU defense. Still, his athleticism and potential jump off of the page. He could easily transition to either outside linebacker position in a 3-4, or stay at end and eventually add some more bulk. In almost any other season he'd likely still be a high draft pick on his upside alone, but this is just a loaded class at his position, with players that have produced more big plays and are more ready to step in and chase quarterbacks now. For that reason alone, he probably should have come back to school. He'll likely fall into the second round. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if Hunter becomes a dynamic NFL defender in a couple of seasons.