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2020 NFL Draft Prospect Guard Robert Hunt

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Big, Powerful with good hands

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Louisiana at Texas A&M Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Robert Hunt is a hulking right tackle from the Ragin’ Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette. He is still learning how to play the game of football. He came from a tiny town in East Texas.

His story is sad, heartwarming and inspirational, all at the same time. An excellent article was written about Robert Hunt by Ben Solak of The Draft Network. I recommend you read it. This will give you some context of the player I am writing about. Here is the link.

Hunt came to the Ragin’ Cajuns as a immensely raw talent back in 2015. He redshirted that year and spent it on the scout team. In 2016 he was the starter at left guard for all 13 games. He started 11 games at left guard in 2017 then moved outside to right tackle in 2018 starting 14 games.

The coaches moved Hunt to right tackle to take advantage of his athleticism which must have worked as the Cajuns had 3 RBs gain over 700 yards rushing that year. He played right tackle again in 2019 but he missed the last few games and the bowl game because of a groin injury.

The injury was not considered “major” but it was concerning enough that doctors recommended he have surgery to assuage any fears of a recurrence in the future. He also missed the Senior Bowl but attended the week to talk with coaches.

Over time Hunt became a leader not only on the offensive line but in the locker room where he was a popular member of the team. “The man (is) a clown … Really, he’s nothing but smiles,” RB Trey Ragas said.

“Joking around all the time. He’s a positive person. He’s got a lot of energy.”

That joking around was left in the locker room, not on the field.

“You could tell that he’s realizing he’s an old head now, so he took on a role to be a leader,” Ragas said. “If we’re messing around on offense, he’ll get us back right in check, ready to play the next play.”

Being an “old head” is a endearing term for a veteran player in Cajun country.

His offensive coordinator Rob Sale agreed with the assessment that Hunt has become a leader, “He’s done a good job with the younger guys, not only in the O-line room, but throughout the offense in general, getting the guys to do the right thing. He’s done a phenomenal job for us.”

As a prospect Hunt has great size, but I believe his position in the NFL will be at guard. I am not sure how much length he has, and I don’t believe his feet are quick enough to handle the edge at tackle against some of the faster speed rushers.

Here he is against Appalachian State which has been the cream of the crop in the Sun Belt Conference the last few years.

Robert is a big kid listed at 6’ 5” 322 lbs, but he is probably a little shorter than that. He does some good things here. You can see the wide base he uses with arms extended out and hands inside the frame of the body of the defender. He shows great movement skills to mirror the defender. He also displays a strong initial punch as the defensive end first tries to go around his right shoulder.

That same defensive end was eating the lunch of the left tackle all day just as the player at the bottom of the screen does on this play. The only problem Hunt has on this play is he crosses his feet. That is a no no. As he is mirroring the defender he does it twice which would be death in the NFL. An avid tape watcher like Von Miller will feign a move to the left, and as Hunt crosses his feet he would suddenly bull rush Hunt putting him on his backside while Miller goes after the QB. This can be averted with a move inside to guard and coaching.

On this next play he comes out really low and powerful on an RPO (run, pass option) play. It’s 2nd and 1 with the whole line slanting left on a power dive play to get the 1st down.

The QB sees the X receiver alone with the corner playing 6 yards off so he fakes the run and quickly flips the ball to the WR for a 5 yard gain. It’s hard to see, but Hunt comes off the ball quickly and low then drives his man into the turf all the way to the other side of the line. You can see right at the end #50 on top of his man at the end of the play.

These next few plays against Georgia Southern, Hunt just ate his man alive. This run is a simple dive straight up the “A” gap which is between the guard and center. It’s probably the most basic play in the playbook.

This is a quick dive play, but Hunt is able to take control of his man then drive him past the center position before the running back can make it through the hole. The running back actually cuts off Hunt’s backside on the play. It would have been better if Hunt would have driven his man in the opposite direction away from the play, but he had such good leverage going in that direction that the defender wasn’t going to make a play anyway.

This next play is another example of Hunt dominating the same guy. I have no idea why they didn’t replace him.

The play is being run to the opposite side, but that makes no difference since a lineman needs to make a quality block no matter where the play is going. If not the defense will know where the ball is going just by watching your effort.

This next play is against the same team, but Hunt is blocking down on another man. This is a play side double team while the pulling guard will take care of the end. The pulling backside tackle will lead the back through the hole.

The Ragin’ Cajuns were one of the best rushing teams in the nation. They had three quality backs and a wide variety of rushing schemes. Here Hunt shows a little bit of that nastiness as he comes on the double team and totally blindsides the defensive tackle, taking him to the ground with authority.

On this next play against Appalachian State Hunt shows some good movement skills to move to to the second level and cut off the pursuit lanes for the left inside linebacker.

With Hunt’s huge frame he doesn’t have to do a whole lot once he gets there. His size alone is enough to give the running back room to make it through the opening. For a man of Hunt’s size he show some good balance. You rarely see him on the ground unless he is driving his man into the turf, and he is on top of them.

This next play Hunt does a nice job of kicking out the defensive end to open a lane for the running back, but it also might show a problem.

Hunt does a great job of turning his man #48 out of the hole, but you can also see how his man is able to hold him at bay with his length. The man has his hand in Hunt’s grill not allowing Hunt to get his hands inside his pads. Hunt was at the Senior Bowl, but he didn’t go through measurements so I don’t know his length. It’s a big deal down in the trenches. If two men are equal the one with the better length is going to win many battles.

On this play you see #75 Kevin Dotson the right guard who is also entering the Draft. Dotson is a close friend of Hunt’s. Dotson is a big kid as well (6’ 4” 321) and was named First Team All American by the Associated Press. Dotston is also nimble for a big man with great hand usage. He is a player who I may highlight later in the month. He is a late day two, early day three prospect depending on how he looks at the Combine and pro day.

This last clip is of Hunt and his nemesis #48 in pass protection near the end of the game.

Hunt does a great job of controlling his man with his arms fully extended so maybe the other clip was just one play where he didn’t have good position. Here he gets some help from his friend Dotson but he didn’t really need it. He had it covered.

Hunt did get in trouble back in 2017 with a number of his teammates. Here is the story.

In 2017, more than a dozen Louisiana football players, including Hunt, were suspended from the team after being initially charged with a felony for theft, but the charge was reverted to a misdemeanor of criminal mischief. The players allegedly stole around $2,400 worth of items. Charges were dropped after Hunt completed a diversion program. (per the Vermillion)

Mark Hudspeth who was the head coach at the time went on record saying they were good kids who have learned from their mistakes. “These young men have learned and will continue to learn from this tremendous life lesson,” Hudspeth said. “We will continue to be respectful of the legal process as it runs its course.”

That was three years ago but it is sure to come up during interviews at the Combine. Youthful transgressions do happen, and Hunt was young. Whatever the reason, it is not good but, there are few if any of us who did not some stupid things when we were on our own and 19 years old. I’m raising my hand now.

Summary

Robert Hunt has some good traits. He flashes some power in his hands. He is strong with good balance and keeps a wide base in his pass sets which aids his good anchor ability. He needs to bend his knees a little more and work on keeping good leverage. He can show great power, but he needs some better coaching to get him to be more efficient with it. His blocks can be hit or near miss at times.

I think the move inside is going to be a very positive for Hunt. He will be well-served in a role where he has friends on either side of him and he doesn’t have to worry as much about the edge. With less to worry about he can focus on what is directly in front of him.

You can’t help but root for this kid. I will be watching closely in the coming months on any news on Hunt either at the Combine or his pro day. No matter where this kid lands, I wish him the best.

I currently have a mid 4th round grade on Hunt, but with the dearth of offensive line talent in the NFL right now I doubt he makes it through the middle of the 3rd round. We shall see.

That’s what I think.

What do you think?