When the Patriots drafted Sebastian Vollmer in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft, the big knock on him was that he was just too big – and look how that worked out. Now, the same thing is being said about SMU’s monstrous defensive tackle Margus Hunt.
Much like Vollmer, Hunt grew up abroad and is a late convert to the game of football. The 25-year-old mammoth grew up in Estonia and spent much of his early life competing as a junior world champion discus and shot put thrower. After winning gold in both events at the 2006 Junior World Championships, Hunt moved onto a new challenge on the football field. Hunt excelled along the defensive line from the start, blocking seven kicks (one shy of the NCAA record) during his freshman season.
He continued to develop with each passing year, becoming a pass-rushing menace for opposing quarterbacks and one of the best defensive linemen in college football. Hunt’s overwhelming size, especially for an interior defensive lineman, has raised some red flags for teams wondering if it will be more of a deterrent. The injury risks and lack of leverage are definite concerns, but Hunt’s strength, speed and production are hard to overlook.
The Patriots aren’t in desperate need of interior line help, given the consistent and dominant play of Vince Wilfork, but adding a powerful force like Hunt certainly wouldn’t hurt either. Hunt has the ability to be the best interior lineman in this draft class, which should pique Bill Belichick‘s interest, and he is capable of contributing immediately upon arrival. So, while the concerns do stand, it would be no surprise if the Patriots took a chance on Hunt like they have with so many cautionary tales before.