Lottery Tickets is a breakdown series of the lesser known players who have a chance to make the Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 1 roster. Leading up to training camp, we’ll be profiling the intriguing undrafted free agents and reserve/future contract players that show the ability to potentially stick in the NFL. The players we discuss are high upside players that haven’t significantly affected the Chiefs bottom line, but the returns could be substantial.
It’s the evening of April 28th. You’re Kavis Reed, general manager of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. You’ve been working tirelessly with your scoats (Canadian for scouts) to set your board in preparation for the upcoming CFL draft. Today is a nerve-wracking one for you because there’s only one big obstacle separating you from your first overall selection on May 3: NFL undrafted free agency.
You’ve been refreshing your Twitter account for a solid hour, waiting to see what names could be in jeopardy. And then you see it. The news you’ve been dreading all day. Bowling Green offensive lineman Ryan Hunter has signed with Kansas City Chiefs. You’re despondent.
“Ohhhhh noooooooo,” you exclaim. “Our plan Eh, B and C is gone!”
The board is ruined. Mere days earlier you had peeled off a corner of scratch paper and written down a message to yourself:
It’d been sitting in your pocket for days. Your conviction was as strong as it had ever been, and only increased when the Central Scouting Bureau ranked Hunter the number one prospect in this draft.
You never really recover from that fateful evening. Out of sadness, you eventually trade out of the first selection and then a month later accidentally release a player (!!!!!), Xavier Fulton, whom Hunter would have replaced. First Montreal loses the Expos, now Hunter.
The Chiefs were able to snatch 6-foot-5, 322-pound offensive lineman Ryan Hunter from the grasp of the Canadian Football League.
Originally from Ontario, Hunter qualified to be taken after completing his career at Bowling Green. He was projected to be a top pick in the draft and still was selected with the last pick of the first round even though he’s got a shot to stick in Kansas City.
Highly regarded in his home country, Hunter showed the positional versatility to be an interesting add into the offensive line competition. He played both tackle and guard in his career. He also tested as one of the better athletes in the offensive line group with a reported 25 bench press reps, 8-foot, 8-inch broad jump and a 40-yard dash in the 5.2 range.
The first thing that jumped out to me was the responsibility he held to communicate adjustments for the offensive line—he appeared to be very active and involved in the protections the line was setting.
That probably stems from the wealth of experience he had at Bowling Green, starting since his sophomore year and playing in every game since his freshman season. His experience showed up.
Top CFL Draft Prospect OL Ryan Hunter is first going to try his hand as a UDFA G/T in Kansas City before returning home to Canada. Here at LT he does a nice job sorting through a stunt. pic.twitter.com/RMZWAfiOXf— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) June 13, 2018
Good job by Hunter to sort through the stunt. The defensive end rushes to his inside hip, with the nose tackle looping around off the edge. Hunter does a good job coming off the edge to slide to the looping nose tackle quickly.
He anticipated the stunt and got out with urgency. Overall, I think Hunter shows above-average lateral agility.
I think LT Ryan Hunter has some pretty good lateral agility and balance for a man his size. pic.twitter.com/0NhV3qlWkn— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) June 13, 2018
Hunter really had no issue mirroring the edge rusher. When he tried to change his direction back towards the line of scrimmage, Hunter continued to stay in front of him with his hands inside. He does cross his feet here once, and he’ll need to avoid doing that, but he’ll continue to develop his feet and base. Hunter’s hands do show promise.
Good initial punch from LT Ryan Hunter. pic.twitter.com/lT1Jn1C4ws— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) June 13, 2018
Hunter typically plays with good timing in his hands. He’s often very patient and has a good feel for when to strike. He also does a good job of keeping inside hands most of the time.
On this play, he displays a strong punch and is able to stall the pass rush, keeping his hands inside and showing the ability to control the rusher as he tries to get outside with little success.
Hunter actually started his career as a guard. He led his team in pancake blocks in 2015 as a guard. The ability to play on the interior will be his best bet to make this roster. I found some tape of his from 2015 and there’s something to work with:
Ryan Hunter played guard early in his career. A little late to release on the screen, but great effort to finish with a big block. pic.twitter.com/rZGUnmAGft— Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson) June 13, 2018
The execution of the play by Hunter here isn’t the best. He was looking to release from the defensive lineman a little quicker on the screen so he could get out and block.
He got hung up at the end of the play when trying to toss the defensive lineman. What stands out about this play is his effort to recover from the late exit and still finish the play with a big block.
He worked hard to execute his assignment and ultimately his block allowed for the nice gain.
Here’s Hunter pulling from the left guard position later in the 2015 season. While not the cleanest pull, he stayed tight to the center and exploded to the linebacker, squaring him up and clearing a hole for the running back and eventually throwing the linebacker.
The bottom line
Hunter is probably the best developmental offensive line project on the roster. There is room in the offensive line competition for this experienced college player.
He flashes strong football acumen, great effort, agility and strength. I think his best bet is on the interior, with flexibility to play tackle if needed. He is well regarded in his native country for a reason. Traits are there to develop into a contributor on an offensive line.
I expect Hunter to get a long look through this process and potentially earn a roster spot or an opportunity on the practice squad.