Since Danielle Hunter was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft, he’s been shattering expectations. At the time he was drafted, he was looked at as a high “potential based” pick for Minnesota. Since then, he has been a pleasant surprise in both seasons for Mike Zimmer and the Vikings. While Hunter has developed his game to become a productive defensive player, there is still plenty of growth potential in his game. Unfortunately, it is too late to buy low on the former LSU Tiger, and you’ll have to pay a steep price if you want to land him. For those lucky enough to own him now don’t go trading him anytime soon, this kid is only going to get better.
Hunter recorded a 12.5 sack season in 2016 while coming off of the bench. Though he was a backup to listed starter Brian Robison on the depth chart, he played quite a bit, (he was on the field for just under 60% of defensive snaps). Often on third down, Minnesota would plug in Hunter at the LE and push Robison inside to defensive tackle. Robison has one year left on his deal with the Vikings, but there is a growing sense that Hunter may take the starting defensive end spot in 2017. Even if Hunter has to wait one more year for the starting role, he’ll still get his sacks before ascending to the starter come 2018 (Hunter has already racked up 18.5 in his young career).
Hunter uses his elite level athleticism as his main calling card. At 6’5, 252 Lbs, Hunter has ideal size for the DE position. With his level of quickness, he is often able to go right around blockers, or he can catch blockers misstepping as they need to rush their footing to keep pace with him. The former LSU Tiger also has grown man’s strength, at the young age of 22.
— Bradley Ylitalo (@NFL_drafthub) March 5, 2017
Hunter is a two-year veteran and is the same age as prospects such as Taco Charlton and Dawuane Smoot, and even younger than Chris Wormley, just to put his age in perspective. Size, athleticism, power, young age, increasingly good pass rush skills, Danielle Hunter is a player who does seem to have it all. With defensive guru Mike Zimmer continuing to coach him up every year, big things are in store. I’ll say it again, hold on to Hunter, he is one of the most valuable players in dynasty IDP at the moment. Fantasy owners may value him equal to a late first to early second rounder in combined rookie drafts. Certainly good value there, but I’m holding on to Hunter for dear life if I have him. With two impressive seasons already under his belt, there should be many more productive seasons to come for the rising star in Minnesota!