Chargers Draft Prospectus XI

They don't get the glitz that other positions get, but without these behemoths the offense would not function nearly as well as described. Last year the second round brought Toniu Fonoti into the fold, and his future is bright. This year another offensive lineman may be on tap for the second round as the San Diego Chargers look to make their offense unstoppable, and it all starts in the trenches.

Like Toniu Fonoti, Wayne Hunter is also a Hawaiian and his love for the islands brought him back after a season with California. The Chargers are interested in Hunter and the instant camaraderie that Hunter would have playing with Fonoti would be a welcome addition to his learning curve. The Bolts are looking to secure their line with solid players who can move in space to create holes for LaDainian Tomlinson and protect quarterback Drew Brees who too often last season was hounded by the opposition despite the what the stats say of him only being sacked 24 times.

Hunter played two seasons as a defensive tackle, and only in 2002 did he move to offensive tackle. Many will recall Damion McIntosh was also once a defensive tackle.

Hawaii's offense passed the ball about 92% of the time and Hunter only gave up three sacks (two in the Alabama game) and a total of seven pressures. With such an unbalanced attack opposing defensive linemen were giving their all to get at the quarterback using reckless abandon as they never feared a rushing play. That in itself is a testament to how well Hunter pass protected despite just learning the position after being a defensive lineman at Cal.

Wayne Hunter
Offensive Tackle
Hawaii
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 303
40 Times: 5.10/5.12
Vertical Jump: 31 inches
Broad Jump: 8' 8"
Short Shuttle: 4.54
Cone Drill: 7.72/8.1
Bench Press: 37 reps (second among all players)
Top Bench: 430 pounds

"The sleeper headed up boards is little-known Wayne Hunter of Hawaii. A former defensive lineman, Hunter has taken well to the offensive line after moving there two seasons ago, and now is a first day draft choice." Tony Pauline-TFY Draft Preview


Hunter is another of June Jones protégés in his pro style passing attack. He has shot up the draft board like a rocket, and is now considered a first round talent, although he will likely fall somewhere in the second round.

"He has that unique talent to be very good at the next level," Jones said.

He moves like a much smaller man, like a cornerback or a wide receiver, not an offensive tackle. He possesses physical gifts which defensive line coach Vantz Singletary says will make Hunter "a millionaire if he stays healthy."

"Even though Hunter has limited experience at the position it will not affect his draft status because you cannot make left tackles," said one NFC offensive line coach.

He has a long wingspan, could easily add on 10-plus pounds without sacrificing his athleticism and could even move inside to guard early in his career.

Hunter is a well-proportioned athlete, who generates a sudden surge off the snap, rolls his hips on contact and explodes into defenders. He shows outstanding foot work and second-level quickness to position properly and sustain his blocks in pass protection, and is nimble enough to put his leg behind his head. Sinks his hips and shuffles his feet quickly to get back and seal off the outside and is very effective pulling in the short areas. He takes proper angles moving out to neutralize linebackers in the open field, as noted by his eleven registered downfield blocks. He has the long arms necessary for pass protection.

One concern is back spasms that have plagued Hunter throughout his career. While not causing him to miss a ton of action, the beating on a daily basis will continue to take its toll. In 2001, Hunter was hurting for most of the season despite playing in all but one game.

Another factor against him is his lack of run blocking experience. While he has shown to be adept in pass protection, the jury is still out on his run blocking skills. With a running back like LaDainian Tomlinson, that could play into his journey to San Diego.

The Chargers love his versatility and realize he has the potential to play either guard or tackle at the NFL level. Plus Hunter has interviewed well and there is a humbleness about him that the Chargers brass loves. Even during his workout in March he was a quick study and willing to take advice from the coaches watching him. Every time he took the advice to heart and performed the move as if he had been taught it from birth.

Depending on how the first round plays out, you could be looking at the next San Diego Charger. AJ Smith is said to covet Hunter and Smith has made it one of his primary focuses to upgrade the offensive line early. Smith even brought Hunter into San Diego for a visit. Special thanks to Tony Pauline who contributed to this report.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net or via the following link:: Denis Savage

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