2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Toledo RB Kareem Hunt

From now until the 2017 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to examine as many prospects as possible and showcase both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

Kareem Hunt/RB Toledo – 5’10/4 208

The Good

– NFL size/frame, will be able to withstand the rigors of the NFL
– Near elite contact balance, finishes every run, and carves out every yard after contact???
– Well-rounded back who combines strong acceleration with power
– Dangerous in space, able to make people miss, changes direction with decisiveness and explosiveness
– All-situations runner, potential to be a workhorse back
– Showed growth and an increased role as a receiver in 2016
– Has effort and heart as a pass protector, though technique will need cleaned up
– Tons of production in his career, lots of starting experience
– Durable, no major injuries in career

The Bad

– Lacks breakaway top-end speed to run away from everyone at the NFL level, appears to have dropped weight to increase burst/speed
– Needs to show more patience as a runner in gap schemes, following blocks and not getting ahead of the initial puller
– Gives effort in pass pro but drops head/eye level, causing him to whiff and be unable to stick on blocks
– Vision needs work, has to trust what he’s seeing, needs to get upfield quicker
– Minor ball carrying problems, not consistently holding the football in the off hand


– Three year starter for Toledo
– Career: 782 carries, 4945 yards (6.3 YPC) 44 TDs
– 73 career receptions, 41 senior year
– 2016: 1475 yards, 5.6 per carry, 10 rushing touchdowns
– Three-time First-team All MAC selection

Tape Breakdown

It’s a draft full of household names at running back. Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffery, all names that popped up on Sportscenter’s highlights each week. Kareem Hunt doesn’t fall in the category but his production and NFL prospects are nearly just as bright.

One of his best traits is his contact balance. Ability to run through tackler,s stay on his feet, even when he’s knocked off balance. Check out this run at the Senior Bowl. Nose tackle blows up this zone run but Hunt spins off, stays on his feet, slips through the tackle of the backside linebacker, and nearly finds the end zone.

But Hunt can win in space for a big man and that’s equally as impressive. He’s not *just* a power or elusive runner. He can win with both. As written in the report, he had a significantly more active role as a receiver this season. And it allowed him to make plays in space like this one, breaking the ankles of the DB.

On this Senior Bowl run, he puts it all together. Hits the hole with burst, outruns the safety’s pursuit angle, and racks up a massive run before being chased down by linebacker Tyus Bowser (rightfully questioning the long speed, Hunt will turn in an average 40 time at Indy).

But he isn’t without his faults. He will outrun his blocks in gap schemes and he has to work on some of his footwork as a zone runner. He has good vision overall and knows where to go but he can be impatient in trying to get there.

On this gap run, he’s out ahead of both pullers and winds up getting only a couple yards. Definitely needs to be more patient.

In Mobile, up watching the All-22 film, he tries to bend an inside zone run back, making the correct decision, but he spun away instead of planting and turning upfield. It cost him yards.

On this play, he’s not switching the ball into the correct hand, the away hand, to lower the risk of losing a fumble and using his near hand to keep defenders at bay.

Pass protection is an area Hunt gives a lot of effort but also needs some technique work. Too many times he’s dropping his eye level on contact, being unable to see what he’s hitting and falling off too easily.

Like I wrote at the top, Hunt presents really good value in this draft because the talent at the top is going to push him down. Arguably a second round talent that a team will pick up in the mid-to-late third. A third round investment is a bit heavy for a team who never wants to take Le’Veon Bell off the field but it would hard to be upset the selection.

Projection: Late Day Two

Games Watched: vs Temple (2015), at BYU, at Northern Illinois, Senior Bowl

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNathan PetermanO.J. Howard
Charles HarrisAlvin KamaraTyus BowserDavid NjokuDeMarcus Walker
Chidobe AwuzieDeShone KizerMarlon MackCameron SuttonZach Cunningham
Corey DavisCarl LawsonPatrick Mahomes

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    I like the way this guy runs – angry!!! He could definitely make a nice compliment to LBell.

  • Steelers12

    meh, i prefer Pumphrey or Foreman

    i saw on a website where they said Steelers could possible look at Isaiah Crowell because they dont think he will get a top notch offer

  • Spencer Krick

    Watching Hunt was a lot of fun during the senior bowl, I wouldn’t mind him in the third round.

  • capehouse

    I’d hate to spend a 3rd pick on a RB when we already have to best RB in the league with our 1-back approach. Please resign D Wil.

    Great play by Bowser to run Hunt down from behind on the Senior Bowl highlight. That guy has some wheels.

  • CP72

    Pumphery or Foreman….can’t get more opposite ends of the spectrum than that!!

  • Alex Kozora

    Ha, truth.

  • CP72

    Best running back in the league yes….with two drug suspensions and what’s becoming an extensive injury history. If there is value at the end of the 3rd for a running back I think you could justify it.

  • LucasY59

    as much as it is a knock on Hunts long speed that Bowser caught him in the open field, I think it shows that Tyus should have very good speed for the LB position (I like Reddick, but the more I see of Bowser the more I think he can be a similar player)

  • LucasY59

    I totally agree on Bowser, I was going through the profile and had to jump to the comments to note that Tyus looks to be a very athletic/fast LB (then I read the rest of the profile and now the comments and see you said the same thing about Bowser)

    I really like the idea of adding a athletic OLB that could play some ILB as well (kind like Timmons and Shazier) and Reddick/Bowser seem like that type of player in this draft

  • LucasY59

    originally I thought this drafts RB talent was a deep, but I am not finding a standout player I really want the Steelers to pick, right now my fav is James Connor, and he is more of a later rd (day 3) value pick

    there is depth (otherwise a guy like Connor wouldnt be a candidate for later in the draft) but before I started digging into this group I thought there was no way the Steelers would not draft a RB early, and now I am kinda the opposite, where I hope they wait

    part of it is that there is talent at other positions that I like a lot better than RB, the OLB and CB class is great and I would like to see the Steelers Double up at those positions before they take a RB (so that makes RB a 5th rd priority at the earliest)

  • Shannon Stephenson

    For the value I love Hunt and hope we can get him in the 4th but hard to find guys like him that late. I like Connor and find his size intriguing but have a bad feeling with how upright he runs that his career will be short lived in the NFL.

  • LucasY59

    If Connor is a backup to Bell he should have a decently long career (hopefully not going to see a ton of playing time, but when he does get snaps I think he could be an effective player)

    the biggest concern I have with James is his speed, if he isnt fast enough to hit the hole before it closes at NFL speed he wont have much of an NFL career, I think he should time well enough, but wont be really fast

  • capehouse

    Fair point.

  • Dude has skill. Would like a home run threat to compliment Bell though if there is one

  • Jon Herbst

    Hunt’s 40 time at the Combine will surprise everyone. He has been consistently running in the 4.4’s while training at IMG.