STRENGTHS - Margus Hunt is a tremendously gifted athlete, possessing natural speed and power and ridiculous size for the position. He is an explosive player who flashes great speed on film. He has a very quick first step, and there is power behind it as well. When he knows exactly what to do, he can excel using a combination of speed, power and explosion. As a pass rusher, Hunt is at his best when he can quickly split gaps and bend the edge around the corner through contact. As a run stopper, he has great ability to hold his ground and make plays, as well as the ability to beat linemen through a gap with his quick get off and disrupt a play before it gets started. Hunt can pursue with his great speed and has excellent closing speed. Throughout his career at SMU, he has been used in a variety of ways and schemes and has decent positional versatility going forward. He is a fiery competitor and plays whistle to whistle and throughout his career at SMU he has shown good durability.
WEAKNESSES - There are really no weaknesses to speak of when it comes to Hunt's athleticism and agility. There is room for Hunt to add weight as he does have a slender frame. Hunt is too reliant on the speed rush as there is very little power rush in his game. While he possesses a reasonable variety of pass rush moves for a newer player, they are all about speed and the rip move. He doesn't use his hands while rushing the passer as he wants to run past the lineman he is facing. He plays too high and stops his feet, playing without leverage with his pads far too high. When playing without leverage, he looks like a very average player and athlete. Hunt looks lost at times without great instincts, and it causes him to overrun plays and get too far up the field. Teams will take advantage of his aggression by running the ball right at him at the next level. He lacks awareness and instincts and has trouble diagnosing the run versus the pass. For a big man with great overall athletic tools, he tackles like a smaller player, rarely making great contact. While Hunt can close on the ball, he doesn't attack the ball carrier when he tackles and he isn't physical in this aspect of the game.
SUMMARY - SMU's Margus Hunt is a tremendously gifted athlete who possesses great speed, agility and explosiveness. This was fully on display during the 2013 NFL combine, but a big question arises when we compare his play during actual football games as opposed to his workout in Indianapolis. Hunt flashes great speed on tape and can really get up the field to rush the passer, but he is overly reliant on his speed at this time, ignoring the bull rush almost entirely. He is quick enough to split a gap with a subtle lateral move, but he is limited with his hand usage and loses power at the line of scrimmage when he allows his pad level to get too high. When he doesn't play with good leverage, he looks like an average athlete without any elite traits at all. Hunt is remarkably gifted when he knows exactly what is happening with the play, and this explains why he has blocked as many kicks as he has. When there isn't anything else to do but block the kick, Hunt has the explosive first step and finishing speed to split the gap and get to the ball. However, it leads to his lack of instincts because Hunt has trouble diagnosing run versus pass and it slows him as an athlete. There are too many instances of Hunt disappearing during games, and he simply needs to be more productive if he is to match his elite athletic tools to his production. While he has great physical power, there are times when he plays like a much smaller player as he doesn't use his hands with power and is not a powerful tackler. Currently, his production on the field doesn't match his workout, but he has great potential to grow into a productive player down the road. Teams must understand that his development will take time. However, I have no doubt that some teams that run a 3-4 defensive scheme will fall in love with Hunt's freaky athleticism to select him higher than this grade reflects. When considering his incredible athletic upside combined with his current shortcomings on the field, a late second-round or early third-round grade is warranted.