Oklahoma State’s Hunter knows the value of pass protection

Rookie running backs that played in college spread offenses often struggle for immediate playing time in the pros because they haven’t learned to pick up oncoming blitzers.

Oklahoma State tailback Kendall Hunter is different. He’s drawn raves from draft analysts Mike Mayock and Todd McShay for his pass protection skills, and spoke of the underrated trait Friday at the Combine.

If you can’t block, you ain’t playing,” Hunter said, according to the Rams blog TurfShowTimes.com. “…At practice, you be blocking all the time. You go against linebackers every other day.”

Hunter is only 5-foot-7 and 199 pounds, but uses his size to his advantage.

“It doesn’t matter what size you are, if you can play, you can play,” he explained. “You can run under people, set up your blocks. Because the linebackers really can’t see you all the time. You can just be patient and cut off the block.”

Among draft-eligible running backs, Hunter’s career yards-per-carry average of 5.91 was one of the best in this class. Hunter is expected to be a second- to third-round pick.