Hunt for the power back

The Steelers need a power back to complement the speed of Willie Parker, and, well, the Hunt is on … and the Steelers are paying attention. Tony Hunt talks about his chances below.

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  • The Odds
  • Hey, how about those 40 times turned in by Tony Hunt last week at his pro day?

    No sarcasm intended, although it may read that way since the Penn State tailback was timed at 4.68 and 4.71.

    No, it wasn't sarcasm because it may turn out to be a great break for the Steelers.

    The Steelers need another running back, and, as Coach Mike Tomlin described back in February, they'd like one to complement the style of Willie Parker.

    "I think just having the ability to be multiple, having the ability to attack defenses in different ways," Tomlin said. "If you look at New Orleans, Deuce McAllister is a power man, Reggie Bush is speed. If you look at New England, Corey Dillon is power, the rookie Laurence Maroney is speed. You have to have the ability to have a change-of-pace offense, to attack people in different ways."

    And, Tomlin continued, the two could play in the same backfield.

    "Having the ability to play both in the game at the same time, and go two-back or one-back, it just gives the defense more things to work on. I think it's just part of today's NFL."

    It should be noted that Parker was considered to have been just a workout guy and wasn't drafted, while Hunt's workout will likely detract from the ability he's shown in video. Sometimes, it seems, a player can't win.

    Regardless, Hunt can play. It was evident in the Outback Bowl, where the 6-1 5/8, 234-pound sledgehammer closed out the 20-10 win with seven consecutive runs for 39 yards against a nine-man Tennessee front to set up the clinching points. After the game, the normally quiet Hunt had his say.

    "We wanted to come out and see if they could handle us if we ran right at them," Hunt said. "They kind of struggled with that, so we just stuck to that and just ran the ball down their throat, killing the clock."

    At the same press conference, Joe Paterno called Hunt, "a money football player."

    Hunt: "I don't know how much you can tell about a guy from watching him run a 40." (Photo: Getty Images)
    Hunt gained 158 yards on a career-high 31 carries to win the game's MVP trophy. It was his eighth 130-yard game of the season. He finished the season with 1,386 yards on 277 carries and ended his career second to Curt Warner on the all-time Penn State rushing list with 3,320 yards (5.1 avg.). He's first on the all-time carries list with 654.

    Considering he had 10 carries of more than 20 yards as a senior, Hunt also showed some speed with the pads on. He also caught 47 passes the last two seasons and proved to scouts he could block.

    "We were expected to be able to do everything," Hunt said at the combine. "It wasn't like we had specific backs play certain situations. I played the whole game so I had to be able to run the ball, catch the ball, block, protect the quarterback; I had to do everything."

    He did everything at the Senior Bowl, too. Hunt was named the game's MVP, but then his offseason went downhill. He didn't workout at the combine and ran those uninspiring 40s at his pro day. But that hasn't diminished the fact that Hunt might be the best power back in the draft.

    "I don't know how much you can tell about a guy from watching him run a 40," Hunt said. "There's no point in a football game where you're just going to come out of a start and run 40 yards straight.

    "Some guys are just drill specialists. I've seen some guys in combines coming out of high school who look like All-Americans in drills but can't play football. Film is the best way to evaluate because you're drafting a football player, not a 40-yard dash runner."

    The Steelers are hoping that few actually believe this.


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    \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
    \r\n Wex's Draft Series
    \r\n
  • Le'Ron McClain
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  • \r\n
  • The Odds
  • \r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nHey, how about those 40 times turned in by Tony Hunt last week at his pro day? \r\n\r\n

    No sarcasm intended, although it may read that way since the Penn State tailback was timed at 4.68 and 4.71. \r\n\r\n

    No, it wasn't sarcasm because it may turn out to be a great break for the Steelers. \r\n\r\n

    The Steelers need another running back, and, as Coach Mike Tomlin described back in February, they'd like one to complement the style of Willie Parker. \r\n\r\n

    \"I think just having the ability to be multiple, having the ability to attack defenses in different ways,\" Tomlin said. \"If you look at New Orleans, Deuce McAllister is a power man, Reggie Bush is speed. If you look at New England, Corey Dillon is power, the rookie Laurence Maroney is speed. You have to have the ability to have a change-of-pace offense, to attack people in different ways.\" \r\n\r\n

    And, Tomlin continued, the two could play in the same backfield. \r\n\r\n

    \"Having the ability to play both in the game at the same time, and go two-back or one-back, it just gives the defense more things to work on. I think it's just part of today's NFL.\" \r\n\r\n

    It should be noted that Parker was considered to have been just a workout guy and wasn't drafted, while Hunt's workout will likely detract from the ability he's shown in video. Sometimes, it seems, a player can't win. \r\n\r\n

    Regardless, Hunt can play. It was evident in the Outback Bowl, where the 6-1 5/8, 234-pound sledgehammer closed out the 20-10 win with seven consecutive runs for 39 yards against a nine-man Tennessee front to set up the clinching points. After the game, the normally quiet Hunt had his say. \r\n\r\n

    \"We wanted to come out and see if they could handle us if we ran right at them,\" Hunt said. \"They kind of struggled with that, so we just stuck to that and just ran the ball down their throat, killing the clock.\" \r\n\r\n

    At the same press conference, Joe Paterno called Hunt, \"a money football player.\" \r\n\r\n

    \r\n\r\n

    \r\n
    Hunt: \"I don't know how much you can tell about a guy from watching him run a 40.\" (Photo: Getty Images)
    \r\n\r\n\r\nHunt gained 158 yards on a career-high 31 carries to win the game's MVP trophy. It was his eighth 130-yard game of the season. He finished the season with 1,386 yards on 277 carries and ended his career second to Curt Warner on the all-time Penn State rushing list with 3,320 yards (5.1 avg.). He's first on the all-time carries list with 654. \r\n\r\n

    Considering he had 10 carries of more than 20 yards as a senior, Hunt also showed some speed with the pads on. He also caught 47 passes the last two seasons and proved to scouts he could block. \r\n\r\n

    \"We were expected to be able to do everything,\" Hunt said at the combine. \"It wasn't like we had specific backs play certain situations. I played the whole game so I had to be able to run the ball, catch the ball, block, protect the quarterback; I had to do everything.\" \r\n\r\n

    He did everything at the Senior Bowl, too. Hunt was named the game's MVP, but then his offseason went downhill. He didn't workout at the combine and ran those uninspiring 40s at his pro day. But that hasn't diminished the fact that Hunt might be the best power back in the draft. \r\n\r\n

    \"I don't know how much you can tell about a guy from watching him run a 40,\" Hunt said. \"There's no point in a football game where you're just going to come out of a start and run 40 yards straight. \r\n\r\n

    \"Some guys are just drill specialists. I've seen some guys in combines coming out of high school who look like All-Americans in drills but can't play football. Film is the best way to evaluate because you're drafting a football player, not a 40-yard dash runner.\" \r\n\r\n

    The Steelers are hoping that few actually believe this. \r\n","skipOnMobile":true,"skipOnMobileReason":"UnsupportedHtmlTable","unsupportedMarkup":"LackingResponsiveTableClass","media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-03-28T15:21:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:404319]","mainImage":{"url":"[MEDIA:404319]"},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:416710]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"422","name":"Penn State"},{"id":"9887","name":"Penn State - Football"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh Steelers"},{"id":"Draft","name":"Draft"}],"nodes":["2483313","99","688","2156"],"isActive":true,"inActiveAndMemberHasPublishRights":false,"createdOn":"2007-03-28T15:32:17.323-07:00","createdById":"166721","modifiedOn":"2015-12-18T13:10:23.103-08:00","modifiedBy":"51458","imgs":[],"viewStats":[{"from":"2015-05-28T11:00:00","to":"2015-05-28T12:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-06-03T05:00:00","to":"2015-06-03T06:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-06-04T02:00:00","to":"2015-06-04T03:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-06-12T20:00:00","to":"2015-06-12T21:00:00","count":4},{"from":"2015-06-30T06:00:00","to":"2015-06-30T07:00:00","count":8}],"hasVideo":false,"brandUnsafe":false,"breakingNews":false},"editorsChoice":{"siteUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1704973-energy-bringers-badasses","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1722620-sci-teams-sports-illustrated","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1644408-long-may-heath-run","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1626251-ups-and-downs-shazier-playcaller","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1614465-qa-peezy-deebo"],"networkUrls":["http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1745508-sec-recruiting-notebook","http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1746729-pac-12-facebook-live-and-recruiting-notebook?s=143","http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1746093-final-scout-300-2017","http://www.scout.com/college/penn-state/story/1747814-james-franklin-on-joe-paterno-s-legacy"],"pinnedStory":"http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1699107-updated-scout-300-trend-meter-for-2017?s=143","topRibbonWidgets":[],"carouselStoryUrls":["http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1748301-steelers-outclassed-afc-title-game","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1747776-steelers-patriots-z","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1747725-steelers-right-blend-experience-skill","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1747446-steelers-showing-immeasurable-growth","http://www.scout.com/nfl/steelers/story/1747456-notebook-run-vs-pats-illnesses-elis-math"],"storyStreamUrls":[],"storyStreamBlacklistUrls":[],"videoStories":[{"type":"StorySummary","containerType":"StorySummary","id":"1747725","siteId":"68","isPublicSite":true,"subdomain":"pit","canonicalUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1747725-steelers-right-blend-of-experience-skill","shortUrl":"http://pit.scout.com/story/1747725-steelers-right-blend-of-experience-skill","siteName":"Steel City Insider","forumName":"","friendlySubdomain":"Pittsburgh","title":"Steelers Right Blend of Experience, Skill","subtitle":"","seotitle":"Steelers Right Blend of Experience, Skill","caption":"Steelers leaders","deck":"The Pittsburgh Steelers are handling the biggest week of most of their careers with a precision that's difficult and hard to master.","dateOverride":"2017-01-21T00:53:25-08:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"Publisher","isActive":true,"isPremium":false,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":false,"hotNamesLinked":false,"storyImage":"http://img.scout.com/sites/default/files/2017/01/20/01-20-17harrison-roethlisberger.jpg","mainImage":{"uuid":"e8abc9c5-bd22-4737-91e2-b2d9e1d02c7d","url":"http://img.scout.com/sites/default/files/2017/01/20/01-20-17harrison-roethlisberger.jpg","title":"Steelers leaders","alt":"","description":"James Harrison and Ben Roethlisberger before a 2015 preseason game. 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