When looking back at the predictions that were being made before the start of the 2016 NFL season, good luck finding one that said Jordan Howard would rush for over 1,300 yards as a rookie running back with the Chicago Bears. Sometimes the best performances by NFL rookies come from those players who are not burdened with the gigantic expectations to carry a team on their back in their very first season.
This year, there is a rookie running back down in Kansas City by the name of Kareem Hunt that could very well have a first season similar to Howard’s in 2016.
Hunt is not a player known by the common NFL fan. He played his college football in a small Ohio city at the University of Toledo. In his four years at Toledo, Hunt ran for a total of 4,945 yards, caught 73 passes, and scored 45 touchdowns.
During the 13 games he played in 2016, he scored a touchdown in 10 of them and rushed for at least 100 yards on eight different occasions.
The 21-year-old running back did not come off the board until late in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft and it likely had to do with his size. He is a bit on the smaller end of the spectrum as he is listed at 5-foot-10 and 216 pounds.
However, plenty of running backs who measured in at a similar size to Hunt did not have any trouble succeeding once they hit the professional level (LaDainian Tomlinson and Barry Sanders were two pretty decent players during their playing days).
But now Hunt is in the NFL as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs and he has already been impressing the team’s coaching staff this offseason.
“I’d tell you the center of gravity, the way he moves, those guys that can kind of shift that big body around the way he does, you think he’s going to be okay. He catches the ball well and he’s a pretty smart kid. We’re throwing a ton at him.”
The Chiefs’ offensive backfield already has a couple of talented players in Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. But it still seems like Hunt is going to get plenty of opportunities to make plays this season despite his standing on the depth chart.
What he does with those opportunities will be up to him and it could lead to even more time on the field if Hunt finds himself celebrating in the end zone more often than not.
Then maybe a few more people outside of Toledo, Ohio will know who someone is talking about when they say the name “Kareem Hunt.”