Scouting Report: Danielle Hunter, DE

Hunter is an impressive physical specimen, but would he fill a need for the Patriots?

Hunter is an impressive physical specimen, but would he fill a need for the Patriots?

Name: Danielle Hunter (pronounced Duh-Neal)

School: LSU (JR)

Height: 6’6″

Weight: 240 Lbs.


I am a sucker for football players who are big, strong, and fast and Danielle Hunter checks off all three boxes.  Even better though is that Hunter has room on his frame to add weight and muscle without losing athleticism.   He has impressive arm length and uses his arms to his advantage, knocking down several balls over his career.  Even at his height, Hunter has nice balance and the ability to dip his shoulder under the opposing lineman to get after the QB when rushing and avoid cut blocks when defending the run.  He shows good strength to set the edge on run plays and has strong hands, which he uses to shed off linemen.  He also gets after the QB both inside and out with a nice variety of pass rush moves and has an great inside swim move.  He has good lateral agility when setting the edge on run plays, which forces the run back inside on several occasions.  Hunter also shows good play recognition and awareness, and rarely gets out of position on play fakes and trick plays.



There are a just a few aspects of Hunter’s game that need work.  My main concern is his get off at the snap.  For some reason he is consistently a half step slower than everyone else when the ball is snapped and seems to lack burst in his first step.  Another concern is that he plays high at times, which does not show up all the time on tape but is something he will want to work on.  Finally, he hasn’t had a ton of playing experience until this year so he is a bit raw.



Hunter has a lot to offer and bring to the team.   He has a rare combination of size, length, speed, and athleticism.  He is a bit raw from a physical standpoint, but has the frame to grow and has only scratched the surface of his potential.   He has a nice combination of speed and power, which will translate well to the NFL.  He may not be an elite pass rusher, but the potential is there if he can improve his first step.  What sticks out for me is that he is not one dimensional.  He is very good against the pass and the run, which the Patriots typically look for.  He reminds me of Chandler Jones a bit coming out of college both physically (albeit lighter) and in his playing style.  I would give Hunter a solid first round grade and I think he is a real possibility for the Patriots come draft time.

24 Responses to “Scouting Report: Danielle Hunter, DE”

  1. Mike Gerken says:

    Great insight guys, gives me lots to think about.

  2. Russell says:

    Another interesting Olineman is OT Taylor Decker a Jr. who may declair for the draft. at 6’7″ 315lbs , he has very nice size. He runs a 5.17 40yd. and is an Ohio State Scholar Athlete. A very good looking prospect, with over 40 game starts under his belt. He moves his feet well, keeps his pads low for a big man, and slides well. Plays OT right or left.

  3. Sully says:

    I think Hunter would be wise to return for his Senior year, he could seriously improve his draft stock with another productive season (improving upon his sack total would provide a huge boost). This year’s draft class has some talent at that hybrid-DE/OLB position: Randy Gregory, Shane Ray, Dante Fowler, Alvin Dupree, Vic Beasley, Shilique Calhoun, Nate Orchard, Eli Harold, Hau’oli Kikaha.

    Obviously not all those guys are first round talents, but they’re all worth being selected in the first two rounds. Hunter’s got the physical stature and athleticism that team’s will drool over, but I think he’d really benefit from another year at school.

  4. Russell says:

    Interesting to note, last year Draft insider had the following player list to go in the draft.

    DT Easley ….2nd round………………………………..Patriots 1st
    QB Garoppolo…..2nd round……………………………Patriots 2nd
    OC Storks………7th -FA round………………………..Patriots early 4th
    RB White……….6th round……………………………..Patriots mid-4th
    OT Fleming…….2nd-3d round………………………..Patriots late 4th

    • steve earle says:

      Yes it’s interesting to look back but as these things go it doesn’t tell us much except that Draft Insider is no more accurate then the majority of sites. The process has always been one of guess work, hits and misses and not likely to change.

    • Russell says:

      I think it shows BB , got the guys he wanted, with Fleming being a value choice , I’m sure they scouted. That’s where they saw RB Gaffney, who BB grabbed quick, off the wire.

      • Russell says:

        Also interestng to note; OC Bodine (scored 5.3) 11th choice in the 4th round starting in Cinn. OC Linsey (scored 5.1) 21st choice in the 5th round, starting in Green Bay.

        Yet Stork (scored 5.1) 5th chioce 4th round

        • MM-II says:

          Russell –

          There were some wide differences in OL prospect ratings among various sources last draft. Below, I’ve listed the ratings/projections from Lance Zierlein of (LZ) and those of National Football Post (NFP).

          NEP #140 … FLEMING … 5.51/3rd (LZ) — 6.7/2nd (NFP)
          GBY #161 … Linsley …… 5.39/3rd (LZ) — 6.5/3-4 (NFP)
          NEP #179 … HALAPIO … 4.19/5TH (LZ) — 6.5/3-4 (NFP)
          NEP #105 … STORK ……. 4.14/5TH (LZ) — 6.4/5th (NFP)
          CIN #111 … Bodine ……. 3.23/7th (LZ) — Not even on NFP’s radar!

          HOU #33 . Su’a-Filo ………… 6.17/1-2 (LZ) … 6.7/2nd (NFP)
          CLE #35 .. Bitonio …………… 5.58/2nd (LZ) .. 6.7/2nd (NFP)
          MIA #19 .. Ja’Wuan James .. 5.17/3rd (LZ) .. 6.5/3-4 (NFP)
          OAK #81 . Gabe Jackson ….. 4.99/3-4 (LZ) .. 6.8/2nd (NFP)
          SEA #64 . Justin Britt ………. 4.51/4th (LZ) … 6.5/3-4 (NFP)
          – Su’a-Filo, though healthy, didn’t see the field much more than FLEMING, though I had him rated about equal with Bitonio (HOU liked him, too).
          – I had James rated just outside my top group of Tackles (MIA apparently agreed).
          – I had Britt rated in my 4th group of Tackles (SEA had a different take, obviously).

          I spent hours poring over OL prospects for the 2014 draft (film, workouts, etc.) and, personally, I had LINSLEY and BODINE rated the same as Weston Richburg (top of the class among Centers). My rating on STORK was “incomplete” because he was recovering from knee and shoulder injuries during pre-draft workouts (which were consequently limited), though his “unquantifiables” were good.

          I had FLEMING and HALAPIO both rated in my next-to-last (5th) group of Guards (along with Gabe Jackson) and had FLEMING rated in the next-to-last group of Tackles. But then, MY ratings were heavily-weighted toward comparing prospects’ general athleticism (via workout numbers) with that of players typically acquired during Scar’s tenure. As interior OL prospects, FLEMING and HALAPIO were BOTH way outside Scar’s well-established range in that regard. Both were bigger and more powerful types rather than the smaller and more agile types Scar seemed to prefer. In spite of that, Scar reportedly recommended them highly.

          Anyway, it seems to me that these media rating/projection variations vis-a-vis where the prospects ended up being drafted (and how much they played) maybe imply a couple-three things:

          (1) There are significant differences in how various media evaluators weight various criteria.
          (2) The teams themselves often see things MUCH differently than media evaluators do (with “need” and scheme-fit factors coming into play).
          (3) How teams *perceive* the competitive demand from other teams for a specific prospect’s services has a significant (and underrated) influence on WHEN they decide to take a specific prospect (“reaches” and “steals” are exclusively media opinions, not scientific fact).

        • Russell says:

          Great info, MM-II thanks!! It really shows how the “intangibles” are very high value to BB, and that what other people value players means very little.

    • steve earle says:

      Okay, saying BB got the guys he wanted doesn’t change the fact that the guys he got have yet ( except for Stork) done a whole lot to justify their selections in the first place. Then there is the valid question of how does the evaluation process at NE decide to draft a DE/DT with history of two bad knees #1 and 4 out of 5 choices as after thoughts?
      We have more FA and UDFA’s doing as much or more then those he drafted. So what does it mean when you say BB gets the guys he wants?

      • Kevan says:

        Jimmy G is the real deal.

        • steve earle says:

          Not saying he isn’t Kevan just that as long as Brady is our QB JimmyG is the backup. Down the road he could become one of the better QB’s in the league but for now an after thought just like White, Flemming and Easley.
          I think what I’m asking is, is Russell trying to predict what/ who he thinks BB will draft or who he thinks he should draft? Also if a player is generally predicted to be ,say a 5th-6th rd pick, why draft him as a 2nd-3rd when he could be got with likely a low 4th? I’m just not convinced Bill picks players then grabs them higher then necessary as Russell believes. That just doesn’t mesh with the concept that Bill looks for value in his picks as it seems to me. I realize I could be 180 out on this, just trying to make sense of it.

      • Russell says:

        I think BB wanted Easley and was willing to take him 1st to get him. BB must feel he has what it will take to be succesful, IF his knees can get better. Don’t forget Wilork had bad knee issues in college which dropped his stock, to position in the draft where the Patriots could get him. I also think there is somthing to be said for a College player who has had an injury and done the work to get back into playing shape, and continue to grow as a player.
        Stork s the rare exception to a BB draft choice that plays right a way. LB Collins did not, Solder did not,(about the same as Fleming has), so guys needtwo years to see what you have. I think WR Dobson is a bust, I’m not sure S Wilson is what BB was hopeing for. However I think Ebnor is what BB expected . Time will tell.

        • MM-II says:

          I agree, Russell.

          I kinda see Easley as a “classic” BB high-risk/high-reward prospect. If it works this time, Easley could eventually become the defensive version of Gronk- *maybe* (they were only 13 picks apart). If it doesn’t work, he’s another Dowling (selected only four picks later). WRT rookie-season contributions, Easley may have been closer to the Dowling end of the spectrum, but at least he lasted most of the season before going on IR (instead of just two games).

          Personally, I would have been lobbying for Bitonio. I can only guess that BB had several OL on his board that he (and Scar) had rated just a bit below Bitonio and that Easley presented a more unique opportunity. But, I’d also guess that, had Garoppolo been off the board at #62, BB might have taken an OG with that pick and the entire remainder of his draft would’ve changed radically from there.

        • Daniel R. Martin says:

          Kind of a false equivalency comparing Easely’s placement on IR. He was put there because of a KNEE injury. TWO CONSECUTIVE years of season ending knee injuries should not have been overlooked, and THREE years of CONSECUTIVE season ending knee injuries shouldn’t be so easily dismissed. The situation with Easely was very different than that of draft prospect Kikaha in that Kikaha has two years of excellent play since his last acl tear. Where do you guys honestly think Easely would have been drafted absent the acl tears? He wasn’t exactly a top 5 prospect who happened to fall because he got hurt. And taking a 15 overall prospect at 32 doesn’t seem to be worth the risk to me.

      • MM-II says:

        steve –

        I get where you’re coming from. You *may* be correct in saying that the Pats have a higher ratio of FAs to “homegrown” in the upper part of the roster than most other teams. It kinda seems that way, but I don’t *know* since I haven’t researched this. I’d probably start by comparing the Pats roster to those of other teams that, like the Pats, rarely draft outside of the bottom-quarter of every round (unless they make a trade).

        I mean, it seems like a fair hypothesis to think that teams the repeatedly draft in the middle of the 1st round or higher SHOULD have more “homegrown” at the top of their roster (e.g., the Dallas OL) and that teams that don’t regularly enjoy similar draft advantages might be somewhat more reliant on veteran acquisitions (via FA or trade). The research will test that hypothesis and either prove or disprove it.

        BTW – thanks SOOO much for giving me yet another project to work on – NOT (lol).

        What I *can* tell you is this (because I actually did the research, though I can’t find my chart just now):

        If you ignore which team *originally* drafted each player and simply divide each roster into three categories…

        1st & 2nd rounders (regardless where they started out)
        3rd thru 5th rounders
        6th-rounders thru UDFA

        … the ratios among these categories on rosters across the league is jaw-droppingly close – I mean, like a maximum variation of 3 players per category.

        So, when you hear the ESPN guys saying something like “Team X has 18 UDFAs on their roster, the MOST IN THE NFL!!”, what they’re NOT telling you is that the second highest UDFA roster total might be 17 and that there might be 10 or 12 teams at that number with another 10-12 team at 16 and the rest at 15 (not necessarily the actual numbers, just illustrating the point here).

        Even narrowing the research down to just starters and key rotational contributors (5th DB, 3rd-down back, etc.), the ratios across the league are much more even than I expected. For instance, the 2013 Seahawk had four UDFAs starting, but most teams had three and (IIRC) every team had at least two.

        IOW, *how* BB goes about building his rosters may be somewhat different, but what he ends up with isn’t radically different at all.

        • steve earle says:

          I believe I have heard this about teams being very close in this before and do not question it at all. And yes every team has it’s own process but what started me on this conversation, as I recall, was guys projecting prospects far above where they are currently being rated and saying it’s a BB kind of pick. This long before any of the all star games or the combine. Wish I could be so sure some 3rd day projected guy will be a good player, I’m just not. Previous drafts being use to prove their points do not, as far as I can tell they can be said to disprove the theroy just as easly. I’d rather wait and see how things unfold through the combine before I decide if 3rd day guys are under valued or not. It’s hard enough trying to wade through the top prospects to find possable good fits.

  5. MM-II says:

    FYI –

    Official weigh-ins for the MEDAL OF HONOR BOWL will be held today. The MoH Bowl is the first of four college all-star games that will be held this month. The others are:

    SHRINE GAME (weigh-ins Mon. Jan. 12th)
    NFLPA BOWL (weigh-ins also Mon. Jan. 12th)
    SENIOR BOWL (weigh-ins Mon. Jan. 19th)

    While the games themselves may be of relatively little importance, the weigh-ins and practice observations can be very informative to fans who follow the draft closely. The weigh-ins offer us the first chance to get *accurate* height/weight numbers on prospects (they’re held publicly) and practice successes and failures of various prospects (especially those who are typically ignored by major media and the Combine) are often blogged and tweeted by very knowledgeable and relatively impartial observers (guys like Ethan Hammerman, Eric Galko, Jeff Risdon, etc.). These folks also often note which teams show significant interest in which prospects.

    Notes and coverage of the “lesser” games (IOW, all but the Senior Bowl) can sometimes be difficult to find online, but have proven to be worth searching out (to me, at least).

    The 2014 Shrine and NFLPA rosters combined to place 58 prospects on NFL rosters and another 38 on PSQs, and the Pats’ own MALCOLM BUTLER was “discovered” at last year’s MOH BOWL.

    • Russell says:

      I’m watching tis as well ! DE/LB Alfy Hill looks like an interesting prospect. 6’4″ 275 lbs runs a 4.86 40yd.

  6. MM-II says:

    If Hunter is a “half step slower” simply because he lacks first-step burst, that’s one thing. However, if it’s a deliberate hesitation that allows him to correctly read the play so that he can be in the right position on runs, play-fakes, etc., THAT might be considered a POSITIVE by BB, especially if it works for Hunter consistently.

    • steve earle says:

      Interesting point there MM and thanks for the heads up on the coming games above.

      • MM-II says:

        Thanks, steve.

        I just try to filter scouting reports through what I’ve observed tat BB typically does with similar guys who he DOES draft. For example, fairly early on in their development, he had both Buchanan and Chandler working in practice and pre-season as stand-up OLBs with an emphasis on run defense. He did the same thing with Cunningham and others as rookies, so it seems like a pretty clear implication wrt what he’s looking for in a DE.

        WRT the all-star practice weeks, one of the reasons I feel that they’re important is that they function kinda like a first NFL “rookie camp” for the prospects who participate (regardless which game).

        These guys have been playing for 2-4 years with more or less the same guys in often relatively limited college schemes that required them to develop certain skills/techniques but probably not some other things that they may need in the NFL. In the all-star practices, they’re suddenly playing alongside and against all new (to them) guys with a higher average skill level while probably being introduced to new techniques by coaches they’ve never worked with. How they respond to that environment very often indicates MUCH more about their potential to succeed in the NFL (long or short term) than any 40-yard dash times or even college tape viewings.

        I’ve often seen all-star game reports about how a relatively unhearlded prospect immediately and successfully incorporates a coaching tip in practice while other highly-touted guys continue to do things “their own way.” While the difference between the two prospects’ approach to practice may end up having little effect on their respective draft stock, it often has a huge effect on their ultimate NFL success.

        • steve earle says:

          Very insightful MM II, probably right on the mark. Again thanks.

        • Russell says:

          BB will be the first to notice “how quickly” a player understands new info. With Dline I always watch for guys who maintain “gap responsiblity” while rushing the QB, that kind of discipline is important in the big picture, and take’s “wise” thinking. MM-II is right on about watching players understanding new instruction. I like to watch a player on tape from one year to the next, to see his progrestion on learning his craft. Some guys just do what they do, falling into the same misstakes, and fail to learn/remember from thier error. More than you may think !!!

  • Categories

  • Search NEPD Archives

  • Archives