Former second-round pick looking to earn job with Cardinals

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Margus Hunt
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Margus Hunt /

Ninth-year veteran Margus Hunt is hoping to impress the Arizona Cardinals and extend an NFL career that began back in 2013.

When the Arizona Cardinals took to the field this past Friday night, they did so without the services of several of their defensive line regulars. J.J. Watt, Jordan Phillips, Zach Allen, Leki Fotu, Rashard Lawrence, and Corey Peters were all sidelined for one reason or another.

Because of the shortage of able-bodies, the Cards were forced to roll with a bunch of individuals who will most likely not be with the club this coming fall. However, one particular member of that group managed to turn some heads during Arizona’s 19-16 preseason victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Margus Hunt, the 53rd-overall selection of the 2013 NFL Draft, turned in a solid performance against the Cowboys. The 34-year-old failed to amass gaudy numbers (just one tackle on 37 snaps), but statistics don’t always reveal the real story. Pro Football Focus handed Hunt a 78.4 grade during the win over Dallas, the third-highest mark of all of the defensive players who saw action for the Cardinals that evening.

Veteran defender’s interesting career has led him to the Arizona Cardinals

The 6-foot-8, 295-pound Hunt, a native of Estonia, migrated to the United States back in 2007. A former decathlete, Hunt came to Dallas, Texas to work with Dave Wollman, a track and field coach at Southern Methodist University. Not long after, the mammoth youngster with freakish skills was offered a football scholarship by June Jones, who happened to be the head coach of the Mustangs at the time.

After spending four years at the school, Hunt became a second-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals back in 2013. His total numbers during his first four campaigns with that franchise included 29 tackles and 1.5 sacks in the 44 matchups he dressed for.

In March of 2017, Hunt was signed to a two-year contract by the Indianapolis Colts. His best season as a professional came in 2018 when he registered 30 tackles (13 for a loss) and five sacks in 15 starts for the squad. Hunt received a two-year extension from Indy in March of 2019, only to be released by the Colts exactly one year later.

Hunt spent last season splitting his time between two organizations. In May of 2020, he inked a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints. Hunt was cut by the Saints the following October, an incident that led to a second stint with the Bengals that began one week later.

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Thanks to some unforeseen circumstances with the Cardinals defensive line, another opportunity has materialized for the ninth-year pro. If Hunt continues to perform as he did versus Dallas, an extended stay in the desert could be in store for the veteran in 2021.