Kareem Hunt opened eyes at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama with his 15-carry, 118-yard rushing performance. What stood out in particular was his balance, as he displayed the ability to keep upright when running through arm tackles. Balance is a key part of a running back’s overall athletic ability and how he fairs gaining yards after contact.
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With Toledo down 17-7 to Western Michigan early in the second quarter on their own 10-yard line, the Rockets needed to get themselves room to work down the field. The Toledo offense calls for a run / pass option with quarterback Logan Woodside (#11) having the option of passing to the bubble screen or handing the ball off to Hunt. After reading the defense, Woodside, decides to do the latter.
With the ball now in his hands, Hunt, runs through the hole created for him by his offensive line. The outside linebacker, Asantay Brown (#6), blitzes off the edge and tight end Michael Roberts (#80) attempts to block him. However, the block doesn’t impact Brown much as the linebacker is able to shed Thomas quickly and is in a good position to make a play on Hunt.
Brown attempts to tackle Hunt above his waist, but the running back easily breaks through the arm tackle. Immediately after shedding the tackler, Hunt bumps into center Mike Ebert (#64) who’s making a second-level block. He stumbles, but catches himself and plants to establish his balance before he readies to break another tackle.
Hunt then rumbes upfield, making a cut that’s appropriate to how his blockers are setting up downfield. A defender throws himself low at Hunt, but he shows off his agility and how he can maintain his balance while hurdling the tackler to avoid him. He continues to run downfield for another 14 yards before being brought down.
Throughout my film study on the Toledo Rockets’ running back so far, Hunt’s balance stands out. Maintaining balance comes natural to him as he has excellent lower strength that helps him easily break through arm tackles for yards after contact. Balance is only one aspect of the evaluation, however. There are still many traits to evaluate on Hunt moving forward into the draft season.
Check out more of Joseph’s work here, including a look at Scott Linehan and the Dallas Cowboys’ Jet Sweep Screen, James White doing his job in Super Bowl LI, and the Dak Prescott’s unappreciated skill.
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All film courtesy of NFL GamePass.