The New York Giants' pass rush has been trending downwards since they made their fantastic run to the Super Bowl three years ago. Part of that trend has been schematic, which the Giants hope to have addressed with the hiring of Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator. Part of that has been health related, and part of of that has been personnel related. Towards the end of the 2014 season there was some addition by subtraction, and there is the hope among the fanbase that there is some more of that in the 2015 offseason.
However, some plain old addition by addition may be necessary. As efficient a pass rusher as Robert Ayers was when he saw the field in 2015, he is nearing 30 years of age, and the Giants might not want to tie themselves to him long-term. As well, though Kerry Wynn looked to be a good backup and rotation player, that might be his ceiling.
If the Giants decide that they need to add a pass rusher, then 2015 is a good draft to need one. There is a bevy of good, to very good, options available. One player who could become a riser as the draft process wears on and the draft itself approaches is Louisiana State's Danielle (pronounced Da-Neil) Hunter.
- Excellent length, 6-foot-6 with vines for arms
- Powerful player, particularly for his size (more on that later)
- Freakish athlete. Good burst & bend, flexibile, agile
- Good motor
- Quick feet to work through trash
- Difficult for blockers to fully take out of a play
- Not just a pass rusher, plays the run as well
- Underweight for an NFL DE at 240 pounds
- Inconsistent hand usage Occasionally tries to just run through blockers rather than use his long arms to their full advantage
- Inconsistent get off. Good first step, but his snap timing is occasionally off.
- Production doesn't match physical tools
Does He Fit With The Giants?
An athletic 6-6 pass rusher with long arms who hails from what has basically been the Giants' farm team? Yeah, I'd say he's on Jerry Reese's radar.
Does he fit with the Giants? That is a tougher question. Without knowing quite what the Giants' defense is looking for, it's tough to answer. If Hunter can show up to the combine at 250 (or more) pounds and still show the same athleticism he did at 240, he should be an excellent fit. Whether or not he can do that or not is up in the air. While he played at 240 in college, that 240 was all muscle, as he also has a ridiculous 4 percent body fat, and he looks to have the frame to add muscle over time.
If he can't add weight, then he needs to show that he has the movement skills to be a stand-up rusher at the Combine. If he can do that, then he could be the defender Dion Jordan should have been. Again, that doesn't necessarily take him off the Giants' board. Spags could be looking for a JOKER/LEO type.
Big Board Rankings
Big Blue View - 45
Mocking The Draft - 73
CBS Sports - 43
Draft Countdown - 57
Draft Tek - 55
I'm just playing a hunch here, but I think Hunter could be a guy who follows a similar track as his former teammate, Odell Beckham Jr.
Like Beckham, Hunter wasn't productive in college and doesn't quite have the prototypical build that NFL teams salivate over. However, he oozes athleticism and has a lot of intriguing tools to go with some nice potential versatility. He still has boxes to check off, and -- again like Beckham -- is a prospect not too many people are talking about, and is generally thought of as a second-round pick. However, if he puts on a show at the combine like I think I think he will, he could be a guy that teams start to fall in love with and hope nobody else knows about.
Like most defensive line prospects, he has some holes in his game, and needs to be coached up on the finer points of his position. But if he has anything like Beckham's work ethic, people will go from making fun of his first name to respecting -- fearing -- his surname.