The Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt has made the most of his opportunities in the season’s first two weeks. The rookie leads not only the Chiefs but the NFL in rushing yards.
Hunt, the Chiefs’ third-round selection in this year’s draft, has been better than advertised in relief of Spencer Ware. His performances in his first two games helped propel the Chiefs offense and team to two wins.
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In the wake of his breakout performance in week 1, Hunt faced a much more difficult task against the defensive front seven for Philadelphia. Hunt was able to make the most of his opportunities against the Eagles in gaining 81 yards rushing and adding 28 yards receiving.
His performance against Fletcher Cox and his teammates highlighted the unique and successful attributes of his running style.
After two weeks of the 2017 season, Hunt leads the NFL not only in rushing yards at 229 but also in yards after contact per attempt. According to Pro Football Focus, Hunt is averaging 4.37 yards after contact every time he touches the ball. In addition, Hunt has also generated the most missed tackles in the NFL by a running back. His total is currently listed at 14 missed tackles with 10 coming on carries and four on receptions.
Hunt’s versatility also applies to where he runs successfully with his offensive line. He’s able to rush to either side of the formation, depending on the matchup.
In looking at his carry maps from NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats, we see that Hunt found the most success running right against New England. Then in week two, against an overall better front seven, success came on the left side of the offensive line. It’s also important to note that in week one Hunt rushed outside often. Then in week two, Andy Reid called more rushes between the tackles. Hunt’s ability to consistently find success regardless of the area of the field will continue to be critical for the team’s offense.
Kareem Hunt displays the toughness, elusiveness and versatility that teams covet in running backs. These attributes have led to early talk of Hunt as a rookie of the year candidate.
Ryan Tracy is an analyst/contributor for ChiefsDigest.com and the owner of Rogue Analytics. Follow on Twitter: @RyanTracyNFL.