The knock on Kareem Hunt was a perceived lack of breakaway speed. Struggles to explode in the open field, according to one scouting report written before the NFL Draft. Inconsistent acceleration, another said.
Evaluations like those have made the first two weeks of Hunt’s NFL career all the more satisfying to the Chiefs’ third-round draft pick out of Toledo.
Hunt followed up his record-breaking introduction last week with two more touchdowns in the Chiefs’ 27-20 home victory Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
He crossed the goal line in contrasting styles, but given those scouting reports, the initial touchdown stood out a bit more. Hunt took a handoff from quarterback Alex Smith, darted through the left side of his offensive line and found daylight. The 53-yard score gave the Chiefs a three-point lead in the third quarter.
“You gotta take advantage of those (opportunities),” Hunt said. “You can’t get caught from behind.”
Well, Hunt actually did get caught from behind in the Chiefs’ Week 1 victory at New England — his NFL debut — but even that came with a caveat. Hunt was deemed the fastest ball-carrier in the NFL’s opening weekend on the play, per advanced stat metrics.
Yes, faster than teammate Tyreek Hill.
It’s not a race Hunt’s going to win often. Or probably ever again, for that matter. But in just 120 minutes of NFL time, Hunt has proved one of two things — he can either accelerate more quickly than many scouts anticipated, or the remainder of his skill-set makes up for that detriment.
Hunt has 30 carries for 229 yards and three touchdowns in two games. He’s added eight catches for 126 yards and two more scores.
On Hunt’s long touchdown run Sunday, teammate Travis Kelce drew a flag for taunting the Eagles’ bench.
Even teammates are excited about what Hunt brings to the table.
“Kareem Hunt went to the house,” Kelce said. “He can play some football. The O-line blocked it perfectly up front, and from there, it was just to the house.”
Hunt’s second touchdown virtually sealed the win for the Chiefs. It spanned just two yards, not 53, but it was another highlight nonetheless.
Taking the ball, he was greeted by Eagles defensive tackle Beau Allen — all 327 pounds of him — a yard shy of the end zone. Hunt’s rear end nearly hit the ground as he turned his back to the goal line, but he drove his feet and plowed over Allen.
He reached the ball across the line for his fifth NFL touchdown.
“I pride myself on being a balanced running back — some speed, some power,” Hunt said. “Just being able to finish, you need to fight for every yard.”