Finding the Next: Danielle Hunter

Danielle Hunter has quietly turned into one of the top pass rushers in the NFL after being selected in the third round of the 2015 draft by the Minnesota Vikings. In two seasons Hunter has amassed 18.5 sacks despite a far cry from the 4.5 career sacks he had in three seasons at LSU. The Vikings took a calculated risk on Hunter who blew up the NFL combine with his athleticism and explosion despite not really showing it on the field. In an NFL that is so pass heavy teams will continue to draft athletic yet raw prospects and collegiate underachievers such as Hunter in hopes of finding the next great pass rusher. Here are five guys who fit this bill.

  1. Daeshon Hall, 6’5’’ 265, Texas A&M

Hall had a coming out of sorts versus Arizona State in the 2015 season opener as he wreaked havoc all over the Sun Devil backfield. Despite playing opposite Myles Garrett, Hall failed to build on this game leaving many to wonder just how good he could be. A major factor that has to be considered was the arrival of John Chavis as the Aggies defensive coordinator. Chavis’ defense relies on the defensive ends to attack the offensive tackles instead of being strictly pass rushers often times hindering a players pass rush numbers. Coincidentally Chavis was the defensive coordinator at LSU while Hunter spent his time there.

  1. Lewis Neal, 6’2’’ 272, LSU

Hailing from the same school as Hunter, Lewis Neal is another talented defensive end without eye popping sack numbers. Neal did account for 12 career sacks at LSU but was used more as a base defender opposite the dynamic Arden Key the last two seasons at Baton Rouge and at times was miscast as an OLB. Neal is a solid run defender who plays with good power. The big knock on Neal is his inconsistent first step but the athleticism needed to become a feared pass rusher is there.

  1. Deatrich Wise, 6’5’’ 271, Arkansas

Wise totaled 16 sacks in his four years of starting at Arkansas but only had more than 3.5 in a season once during his stay in Fayetteville. Wise will not put up eye popping numbers at the combine like Hunter did but still projects well to the NFL thanks to his strength and frame. Wise utilizes one of the best bull rushes in this class and uses his violent hands to shed blockers with ease. An above average athlete with a never stop motor Wise could end up being much more than just a base defensive end.

  1. Kemoko Turay, 6’5’’ 240, Rutgers

After a freshman campaign that saw Turay sack opposing quarterbacks 7.5 times many people in the draft community saw the Rutgers pass rusher as a future first round pick. The next two seasons Turay combined for only four total sacks and has seen his draft stock plummet. During those two seasons Turay has been benched, injured and miscast, a pity since Turay is immensely talented. An excellent athlete Turay possesses an explosive first step evident in his three blocked kicks in 2014. The talent is there and a team willing to try and sort out Turay’s numerous issues could come away with a steal.

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