LSU defensive end Danielle Hunter became the third Tiger defender to announce they would give up their senior season of college football to turn pro early.
The 6-4, 259 pound defender projects as a second round pick for the 2015 NFL draft and I currently have the MortonRanch High School in Texasstandout ranked as the 43rd best overall player for the late April draft.
In 2014 Hunter registered 73 tackles, 1 ½ quarterback sacks, 13 tackles for losses, 6 pass deflections, 2 quarterback hurries and he forced one fumble.
Hunter’s low sack total has been a cause of debate on just how good of a pass rusher the speedy edge rusher is. I do know Hunter is an athlete of the highest level and his potential as a pass rusher will have him going either late in Round 1 or very early in Round 2.
“I just laugh when I hear LSU folks criticize him for not being a good football player or much of a pass rusher,” an SEC offensive line coach told me this week. “Stats are deceiving sometimes. The folks that are critical of him never had to figure out how to block him or try and block him. When we have played against him we paid special attention to making sure we had help in blocking him in pass rush situations. This year we used a back or a tight end to help out in obvious passing situations. He knows how to use his arms and hands well to come off of a block, but he doesn’t seem to have a great array of moves and countermoves to get to the passer. That’s not a talent issue, but a coaching issue on LSU’s part. He has one hard “speed” move, but even with a limited set of moves, he was tough to block. Hunter is a very instinctive player and he can chase down backs with ease from the backside. He is not as explosive an edge rusher like Barkevious Mingo was at LSU, but he is a far more physical player and a much better run defender than Mingo was.”
With Hunter declaring early it assures that LSU will have a defensive lineman drafted in 12 straight years. No college can come close to matching that type of success in recruiting and developing defensive linemen for the NFL.
If Hunter goes in Round 2 as I project it will also mark the 10th time in those 12 straight years that LSU will have a defensive linemen selected in the top 88 picks.
LSU Early Entry Projections:
Danielle Hunter-Defensive End 2nd Round Projection
Jalen Collins-Cornerback 2nd Round Projection
Kwon Alexander-Outside Linebacker 3rd Round Projection