In the spirit of the off-season and the beginning of mini-camps across the NFL all week, I’ll be taking some time to look back over some of my previous NFL Draft reports, both hits and misses, to see where they’ve developed to this point in their respective careers.
Entering the 2015 NFL Draft, Louisiana State Defensive End Danielle Hunter was widely regarded as a high ceiling player, but one that would not come without a bit of risk. Hunter had tremendous testing at the NFL Combine and checked all of the boxes that league personnel covets. 34.25″ arms can cause a lot of havoc along blocking schemes; yet Hunter had yet to translate that physical ability into consistent production for the Tigers.
His NFL Draft report can be found below.
A few things of note:
- Hunter made a massive leap in productivity in his second year in the league; tallying 12.5 sacks after logging 6.0 sacks as a rookie in 2015.
- His 55 total pressures during the 2016 regular season were the most among the entire 2015 pass rush class.
- Danielle Hunter has done very well for himself as a defensive end; I had initially suggested he’d be better off working from a two point stance. I’m willing to concede a misstep there, given the details of where he’ll win and his career trajectory are fairly accurate to this point.
- The 88th selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, Hunter was the 15th EDGE Defender taken. My personal draft board slotted Hunter 61st and 8th, respectively.
- Of the seven EDGE Defenders I had scored ahead of Hunter (Bud Dupree, Vic Beasley, Eli Harold, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Randy Gregory, Dante Fowler Jr. and Nate Orchard; in that order on my board), all seven were selected ahead of Hunter in the actual draft.
Hunter is a great case study for how quantifying traits can help serve as a risk assessment and determine how to value those players. Hunter’s value with the 88th overall selection looks like a steal; but the NFL was very much aware of the irregularities on his film.
The Vikings deserve credit for Hunter’s development and the willingness to invest in his skills on Day 2. But they were also lucky to have had him slide that far down the board due to production concerns.