DENVER – Every player, at some point in his career, has said he’ll do whatever the team asks if it helps the club win.
Defensive end Jason Hunter exemplifies this maxim better than almost anyone I’ve covered.
When he came to Denver in 2010, he hadn’t played outside linebacker in the pros, but he did it in Don “Wink” Martindale’s 3-4 defense, affording him the most playing time of his career in the weeks that followed. He even expressed a preference for staying in the 3-4, even though he appeared to be a bit too bulky to be a natural 3-4 outside linebacker.
In 2011, it was back to the 4-3, and back to the second team. Again, he handled the change without hesitation, and proved to be the most reliable of the Broncos’ reserve defensive ends.
Players like Hunter may seem to be a dime a dozen; there are many who play at the same level as the Appalachian State product. But when you find one who fits well in the locker room and is as adaptable to myriad changes and conditions as your typical Navy SEAL, your best play is to keep him in your midst.
At the very least, signing Hunter is the right call because it ensures there’s one less need heading into the draft. But signing him is the right thing to do because all Hunter has done is everything he’s been asked through altered schemes and changing roles.
Sure, Hunter is considered a rank-and-file player in the larger context of the NFL. But Hunter does well in his place within the team, and it is better with him than without.