Yesterday we talked about Poz with Brian over at Buffalo Rumblings. Today we have a few questions for Jason at Bleeding Green Nation, SBNation's Philadelphia Eagles blog, and he was gracious enough to answer them.
BSD: What do you think the Eagles saw in Tony Hunt that made him worthy of a third round pick?
BGN: First and foremost he's an all around back. If you want to be successful in the Eagles offense, and frankly if you want to even be on the Eagles, you had better be able to catch the ball. Hunt showed good hands and actually caught a good amount of passes at PSU, which I hear is rare in the system they run. He's obviously a talented runner and that's very important, but the Eagles look for that versatility that Hunt has which some backs in the draft lacked. There may have been higher rated "runners" on the board, but the Eagles look for guys that can do everything.
Plus, he's the bigger, powerful back that the Eagles haven't had since Duce Staley left a few years ago. I think the Eagles see him as the hammer type back that's going to move the pile, get short yardage, and wear teams down late in games.
BSD: Based on your fan barometer, how do Eagles fans feel about getting Tony Hunt in the third round?
BGN: I'd say he's easily the favorite pick of the draft amongst Eagles fans. Being that he's a Penn State guy, he's easily the most recognizable name amongst the picks. Alot of Eagles fans are PSU fans, so they've seen more of this guy than probably any other back in the draft. They've certainly seen more of him than any other draft pick the Eagles made. They've seen firsthand what Tony can do, alot of these other guys are mysteries to them.
Second, Eagles fans have been begging for the "big back" for quite a while. They see Dallas using Marion Barber to punch the ball in on the goal line. They watched Jerome Bettis fill that role and win a superbowl. They saw Duce Staley do it right here for a long time. They think Tony Hunt can be that guy.
BSD: The Eagles already have a fantastic running back in Brian Westbrook. What are Tony's chances of cracking the depth chart and getting some carries?
BGN: That's a good question. Obviously Westbrook is going to get most of the carries, but the Eagles have always made a point of limiting Westbrook's touches. He's not a big guy, he's had his fair share of injuries, and the Eagles know they need him healthy at the end of the year. So Tony is going to have every opportunity to get a good amount of carries. If he plays well I could see him getting around 10 carries a game. He may also get a few more touches through the air as well.
Considering the kind of success the Eagles had running the ball late last year and the renewed commitment they have to the run... who knows? He could get even more.
BSD: What are your expectations for Tony in his rookie season and beyond?
BGN: I'd like to see him win the backup RB job this year. He only has Correll Buckhalter, who has two surgically reconstructed knees, to beat out. I'd be pretty surprised if he can't do that. Tony's north/south style should be the perfect compliment to Westbrook's speedy, shifty style. The old "Thunder and lightning combo." I think Hunt and Westbrook could end up a pretty nasty one two punch.
The trend in the NFL these days is that you need two good backs. Look at the superbowl teams last year. Addai & Rhodes with the Colts and Jones & Benson with the Bears. There's other good combos like Jones & Barber in Dallas, Portis & Betts in Washington... I want Westbrook and Hunt in that discussion. I don't need Tony to be a feature back getting 30 carries a game. I want the dynamic duo!
Thanks, Jason. I think if Andy Reid uses Hunt properly he can be a very productive player for the Eagles for years to come.
Make sure you all check out Bleeding Green Nation to get Eagles fans reactions to drafting Tony Hunt, and keep checking in from time to time to follow his career in the NFL.