Before the NFL Lockout crashed down, the Philadelphia Eagles were able to persuade and sign defensive end standout Philip Hunt from the CFL, in hopes of bringing a rejuvenated and energetic presence off of the bench.
Hunt led the CFL last season with 16 sacks, and was one of the most looked into free agency targets for other NFL teams. Hunt showed excellent technique as he simply obliterated opposing offensive lines and proved to be a constant force when given the starting role for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Strangely enough, Hunt is another University of Houston alumni, and was teammates with Kevin Kolb when they were in college.
As far as the role of Hunt on the Eagles defense, he will strictly be a player that comes in to spell the starters. Whether that be Trent Cole, or another one of Philadelphia’s carousel of defensive ends, he will be coming off of the bench. It’s possible that after training camp, or even the pre-season, Jim Washburn quickly finds that Hunt is a better alternative than Brandon Graham, (who may not be ready for the 2011 season following an ACL tear), and Juqua Parker, who both have underachieved greatly last season.
Hunt may start off as a player with a limited role, but the Eagles failed to address their need for a consistent pass rushing threat through the draft. Then with the lockout in place, the Eagles could not even pursue a free agent if they wanted too, leaving only in-house options as of right now. Then even when the lockout is lifted and free agent signings are allowed, the pool for defensive ends is shallow, and most will be resigning with their respective teams.
However, the Eagles did score when grabbing Hunt from the CFL. He has shown nothing but an explosive attitude and a desire to achieve as a player, and could quickly work his way into a starting role. Displaying great technique, a solid mean-streak, and that relentless high motor that Reid loves so much through his career. If Hunt can perform even half as well as he did in the CFL, he will be an immediate improvement from the Eagles current options.
On the flip-side, there is always the chance he will not succeed in the NFL, as it is an entirely new ball game. Everything about the NFL is better, faster, and stronger than what Hunt was playing against in the CFL. No doubt there will be a transition period where Hunt struggles, and he may never pull out of it. But keep in mind that the last player to be taken out of the CFL as a pass rusher was Cameron Wake, who finished last season with 14 sacks, only one away from being top in the NFL.
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