Should the Chicago Bears draft Robert Hunt from Louisiana?
Robert Hunt was an unknown prospect who found his way at Louisiana. Hunt started at left guard as a redshirt freshman and started nine games at left guard at two at left tackle in year two. Over the past two seasons, Hunt held down the right tackle spot, and that is where is his draft stock has started to rise.
A groin injury held Robert Hunt out of the pre-draft process, so there is not much out there on him. However, that may be a good thing for the Chicago Bears as he slides closer to them.
With signing Germain Ifedi, they added some depth to the line, but overall, they need to add more. Hunt is a right tackle who may profile as a right guard in the NFL. Should the Chicago Bears take Robert Hunt?
When you look at Hunt, his reach is why he is looked at as a guard in the NFL. Below 34″ in arm’s length, he is still right around the average mark of an offensive lineman. However, that puts him in good company amongst guard, but with short arms compared to a typical NFL tackle. He can play there in a pinch but maybe giving up reach at the next level.
Fortunately for Robert Hunt, he has nearly two full seasons of starting guard play, and he looked strong. His best attributes are his aggressiveness, his strength, and his violent hands. These are all traits that can translate easily to guard.
His footwork may not be elite for a tackle, but he can get to the second level and road grade as a downhill run blocker. His best tape comes when run blocking.
He was an All-Conference tackle who may not have the length to play tackle. Beyond just the length, he is much more of a run blocker than pass blocker. His burst out of his stance can be a step slow, and without the reach, he would have issues in the NFL.
He has tape from two years ago at guard, but it is still a projectable outcome. Hunt also missed offseason workouts and the end of his senior year with a groin injury that will bring questions of health and no chance to see him work out at guard. Beyond that, he will be 24, which may mean that he can jump in right away, but is old for a rookie.
NFL.com compared him to Cody Ford. They wrote:
Like Cody Ford in last year’s draft, Hunt is a plus athlete with a big man’s frame who could be considered at guard or tackle. Inconsistent footwork and pad level are the primary culprits when he fails to win the rep, but there aren’t any physical limitations that should prevent him from improving in both areas. Pass protection traits are present but getting the skill level up to par is going to take time. He’s a little raw but has the necessary talent to become a solid future starter at right tackle
Ford was a right tackle at Oklahoma. He started his rookie year at right tackle and helped the Bills make the playoffs. There are still rumors he may move to guard this offseason, but Ford may stick at tackle.
The difference between Ford and Hunt is that Ford has 34″ arms, which are shorter, but are right on the threshold, while Hunt is 5/8″ below.
Pro Football Focus compares Hunt to Brandon Scherff. Scherff has the same arm length as Hunt and was a right tackle at Iowa. He translated his run game blocking and nasty side to being a great guard.
Bears fans liked the idea of signing Scherff before Washington franchised him. How about a younger version in Hunt?
Fit with Chicago Bears
At 24 years old, Hunt is going to be drafted to compete to start. With Germain Ifedi penciled in at right guard. Hunt could very easily be a week one starter at right guard if his health checks out.
The question with Hunt is when to take him. Hunt would have been a top 50 pick for sure, but without a medical re-check and no in-person evaluation of him at guard, he may be a player who slides due to this draft being different.
On average, he goes around 76th in mock drafts. PFF has him ranked 78th on their board. If this is the range for the Bears, he may be a reach at their second-round pick and gone by their fourth-rounder. Could this be a chance for Pace to trade back a few spots, pick up a draft pick in the middle rounds, and still find a way with Hunt?
Should Pace just say that Hunt is the best player available and take him at pick 50 to compete for starter snaps next year? Are the injury, position change, and age too much to take a chance on? Or does the switch shown by Scherff and many others, the injury pushing him to the Bears and the age to be a first-year starter make him a great option?