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Countdown to Colts: Defensive Tackle Margus Hunt

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Ninety-two days of Colts’ football to go, 92 days to go! Up next for the countdown, No. 92, defensive tackle Margus Hunt.


The Journey

A four-year player for the Mustangs of SMU, Hunt tallied 112 tackles, 28 for a loss and 16.5 sacks in 53 career games. His best season by far came in 2012 as a senior when he had 11.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and the lone interception of his collegiate career. His sack total in his senior year still ranks fifth all-time for a single season in Conference USA.

Of the defensive ends in the 2013 NFL Combine, Hunt ran the fourth-fastest time in the 40 while weighing more than all three who recorded faster times. On his draft profile on NFL.com, Hunt was noted as a “tall, thick but athletic lineman with loads of potential” and was given an NFL comparison of Calais Campbell.

His frame and ability to play all across the defensive line earned him the 53rd pick of the second round in the 2013 NFL Draft, sending him to Cincinnati to join the defensive front of the Bengals. Hunt would fall short of expectations, however, as he failed to start a single game in four seasons in Cincy. Hunt did appear in 44 games and had 14 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

Hunt would then leave the Bengals and sign with the Colts in the 2017 offseason on a two-year deal. In 2017, he appeared in all 16 games with five starts and racked up 19 tackles and one sack.


The Fit on the Roster

Of the pure defensive tackles on the roster, Hunt is the lightest of the bunch — the only tackle under 300 pounds. He’s the most NFL-experienced of the defensive tackles, aside from Al Woods, as he prepares for the sixth season of his professional career.

He’s the likely fit for the “3-technique” defensive tackle, along with Denico Autry and third-year tackle Hassan Ridgeway. Autry has taken a majority of the snaps at the position this spring, projecting the other two are likely to serve as rotational plugs along the line. He is, however, one of the best kick-blockers on the roster and that alone may earn him a reserve role next season.


Moving Forward

I like Hunt’s shot to make the roster but mostly for his contributions on special teams. Hunt was given plenty of opportunities to thrive in a 4-3 scheme in Cincinnati, but flopped massively.

Beyond next season, when Hunt’s contract with Indianapolis has run up, there will be decisions to make. He is turning 31 in the middle of July, projecting a decline in the following seasons to come. If he’s still anchoring the middle of the line on special teams, his current $2.5 million cap hit is something Indianapolis should be willing to spare for a reserve in one of the most depth-needed positions in football. If he declines on special teams and proves he can’t make the transition back into a 4-3 scheme, next year will likely be the end of his days sporting the horseshoe.