Continuing our grading series here at NinersNation, we take a look at a guy most of us really like: Kendall Hunter. Hunter came in as a smaller back taken in the fourth round of the 2011 draft...a guy most people might not have predicted would see the field much as a rookie due to his size and inexperience.
While he's certainly a different style of runner than Frank Gore, Hunter showed he could gain yards in big situations this year. His pass protection was actually pretty good for a rookie (something that's forced more than one RB out of SF when they struggled in this area) and he runs hard for a back who's smaller in stature.
My personal take on Hunter is that I don't forsee him being a 25 carry back on a regular basis, but he can be part of a timeshare, an equal-split comittee at RB. He's certainly worth a lot, in my mind, and I can't wait to see him utilized even more in the future.
Hunter also is a quiet kid who speaks with his play on the field. He seems to fit the blue-collar mentality that Jim Harbaugh wants in his players. I really like this kid and think that he could develop into a Darren Sproles type back for us, although I think he has more of a hard-nosed style to him than Sproles.
After the jump we'll take a look at Hunter's 2011 stats.
|2011 - Kendall Hunter||16||112||473||29.6||4.2||44||2||16||195||12.2||12.2||44||0|
You can see that Hunter averaged over four yards per carry with two touchdowns. He also caught an average of one pass per game for an average of 12.2 yards. That's solid help for Frank Gore (or whomever is the bell-cow in the coming seasons) and I only expect Hunter's stats to improve.