KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs said goodbye to Jamaal Charles in the offseason, and in Friday’s third round they drafted his possible replacement in Kareem Hunt from Toledo.
“I’m excited to get out there and show them what I can do and fill his spot hopefully if they need me to right away,” Hunt said.
The Chiefs made an investment to pick up the running back, making a deal with the Minnesota Vikings. The team sent their third-round pick (No. 104) overall along with their fourth-round (No. 132) and seventh-round (No. 245) selections to move up in the third round to No. 86 overall.
Hunt rushed for an astounding 4,945 yards in his college career with 44 touchdowns. He totaled a high of 1,631 yards as a sophomore, averaging 8 yards per carry and scoring 16 touchdowns.
But a violation of team rules led to a suspension for the first two games of his junior season. Hunt also played through ankle and hamstring injuries later in the season. He still found a way to rush for 973 yards in 11 games.
Hunt bounced back as a senior by rushing for 1,475 yards with 10 touchdowns. He also showcased a new found pass-catching ability, hauling in career highs of 41 catches for 403 yards and a touchdown.
The running back carries well-earned confidence in his ability to protect the football. In the course of 782 rushing attempts in college along with 73 receptions, he fumbled just once — and he recovered that loose ball.
Hunt proved to his coaches during one-on-one drills before his senior season an ability to get open and make plays with the ball in the air.
“Our quarterback knew I was a reliable source in the pass game,” Hunt said during a conference call following his selection. “He felt like if he was in trouble and no one was open he would try to look for me.”
Hunt weighed in at 5-10, 216 pounds during the NFL combine. He ran a 4.62 40-yard dash and ranked fifth among running backs in vertical leap at 36.5 inches.
Dorsey said his performance at the Senior Bowl demonstrated he was an NFL-caliber running back and the game was not too big for him.
“Anytime a guy doesn’t fumble the football and runs the football as hard as he does, I’m okay with that,” Dorsey said. “I think he can contribute and be a really positive member of this organization.”
The Toledo rushing offense used an outside zone rushing scheme favored by the Chiefs as well.
“You’re able to stretch the defense,” Hunt said. “You can make guys long if they pick the wrong holes. I like the outside zone.”
“They’re going to know that they’ve got a guy who’s going to give it a 110 percent every play and every game,” Hunt said. “It doesn’t matter if there’s good blocking, bad blocking, missed assignments, I’m going to make the most of each and every carry I get and I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team get the win, even if I play special teams or not.”
Hunt appeared breathless after his selection. When asked how excited he was to drafted by the Chiefs on scale of one to 10, this enthusiasm shined through.
“I’m 20, 10, 20,” Hunt said. “I’m so excited. It’s a dream come true. I’m just so happy to be here. I can’t wait to get down there to Kansas City and show them what I can do and be a great asset to the program.”
Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.