Margus Hunt Combine: Best Fits for SMU DE After Impressive Display in Workouts

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2013

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 26:  Margus Hunt #96 of the North squad works against Jordan Mills #78 of the South squad during the first half of the Senior Bowl at Ladd Peebles Stadium on January 26, 2013 in Mobile, Alabama.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Margus Hunt emerged as one of the NFL Combine's biggest winners. 

As a relatively unknown defensive end from SMU, he rarely had the spotlight in the world of college football, but he showed that he's every bit the athlete that any prospect is in this year's draft class. 

At 6'8" and 277 pounds, the Estonian has the size to wage war in the trenches. With 38 reps on the 225-pound bench press, a 34.5" vertical leap and a 4.60 40-yard dash he has the raw explosiveness and athleticism required to be a playmaker along the defensive line. 

However, Hunt isn't the perfect prospect. He's only been playing football since 2009. Regardless of his freak athleticism, he may have difficulty contributing right away. The best scenario for Hunt would be for him to land in a situation where he can sit behind an experienced defensive line and work on technique before being unleashed on the NFL at large. 

Here are the teams that would make for the best landing spots for one of the draft's most interesting prospects. 


Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers would be a great fit for Hunt for two reasons. Firstly his size and skill set are ideal to be a defensive end in the 3-4 scheme that the Steelers run, and secondly, the Steelers have a veteran defensive end who could serve as a mentor for Hunt. 

At 6'5", 280 pounds, Brett Keisel has a similar build to Hunt and has been an important part of their defense for years. However, Keisel is now 34; the Steelers need to start thinking about how they will replace him. 

The only issue that might arise is that the Steelers really need to add pieces that can help right away. Defensive end isn't the greatest need for the team, so they may shy away from taking the risk on Hunt. 

If the Steelers are willing to be patient and groom Hunt, he'll be another star along their front seven. 


Dallas Cowboys

Hunt isn't necessarily limited to a team running a 3-4 scheme. A player with his athleticism is capable of being the edge rusher that teams need from a 4-3 defensive end. 

As Matt Miller of Bleacher Report points out, there's a lot of Chris Long to Hunt's game, and he fits right into the Rams' 4-3 concept. With Monte Kiffin taking over for Rob Ryan, the Cowboys will be looking to add some depth to the defensive line.

That would allow Hunt to play behind veteran Marcus Spears. Spears is 30 years old so he still has a few years of production left, but it would give Hunt the right combination of playing time and developmental opportunity. 


San Francisco 49ers

Of all the possible landing spots for Hunt, San Francisco makes the most sense for both parties. 

The 'Niners have a ton of picks in the draft and can afford to gamble. With all of the talent on the defensive side of the ball, Hunt wouldn't be expected to contribute right away. 

Justin Smith is one of the elite players who makes the 49ers' defense an elite unit. When he was injured in the 2012 season, the defense wasn't the same. Considering the fact that he's 33 years old, Hunt would fit in nicely as the planned successor to Smith's position as the man who clears the way for Aldon Smith.

If the 'Niners use one of their many picks on Hunt and stash him away on their roster for a year or two, him and Smith will be dominating offensive lines for years to come.