Kansas City Chiefs: Kareem Hunt blending speed and power

Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Early in the Kansas City Chiefs 2017 season, rookie running back Kareem Hunt has emerged as a major weapon in the offense. He’s doing it by being a complete player.

It is still early in the 2017 season, but Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Kareem Hunt is turning heads around the league. The Chiefs third round pick out of Toledo has been an unstoppable force through three games this year. He’s doing it with both speed and power out of the backfield.

Coming out of college, the biggest knocks on Kareem Hunt were that he wasn’t an elite speed or power guy. He showed good agility, and excellent vision. However, he wasn’t known for being able to break away from pursuing defenders, or for plowing through tacklers. So it’s been a bit of a surprise that he’s done both at the NFL level.

This is actually a very rare combination of talents. Speed and power like we’ve seen from Kareem Hunt so far are generally found individually in players. Only the most elite running backs are able to demonstrate both. That explains why Hunt is putting up some elite numbers right now.

How Do  You Stop That?

Through three games this year, Kareem Hunt has 401 yards rushing on just 47 carries. That’s good for 8.5 yards per carry…which is obviously a ridiculous mark.115 of those yards have come off of a pair of long runs where Hunt put his speed on display. The bulk of his remaining yards have come through tough running right up the middle.

This is extremely difficult for opposing defenses to handle. On the one hand, you have a guy who runs with excellent power and breaks tackles. This means you need to get extra players in the box to contain him. However, if he finds a crease in that, he has the speed to get away from your back end players and run for big yards. It’s a dual threat.

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On top of that, Kareem Hunt’s physical style of running wears a defense down. On top of contending with 300+ lbs blockers, the defensive players then have to handle Hunt running into them at full speed. Players can only handle so much of that in a game before they just don’t have enough to stop him.

That’s Just The The Beginning

My favorite part of all this? Those are just the natural gifts that Kareem Hunt has. We haven’t even gotten into the technique and skills that Hunt brings to the table. When I did my scouting report on Kareem Hunt all the way back in February, the things that stuck out to me were the polished skills he was showing.

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Kareem Hunt has excellent vision and patience as a running back. Those are the perfect skills to match with his physical traits. Being able to pick out a hole, and then exploiting it with either speed or power (or both) is a huge advantage for a running back. Waiting for those holes to develop is something you expect out of veteran NFL backs, not rookies.

The Chiefs running back also brings a fighting mentality to the field. One thing I noticed about Kareem Hunt’s running style in college was that he always fell forward. That’s another reason why his power running works so well. Hunt refuses to go down on initial contact. That mentality, plus his strong lower body, is why he’s able to break so many tackles.

These are the traits of an elite level NFL running back…and I’m not even getting into his ability as a receiver right now. Chiefs fans, we’ve got a good one on our hands.

Yes it’s early in the season, but Kareem Hunt has got to be an early favorite for Rookie Of The Year. In fact, he should be an early candidate for MVP based on what we are seeing right now. Rookie running backs aren’t supposed to do what Hunt is doing. Getting him in the third round of the draft is a huge win for the Kansas City Chiefs.