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Advanced Metric Puts Kareem Hunt’s Elusiveness into Context

Posted Feb 9, 2018

Hunt ranked as the most elusive tailback in the NFL this season based on an advanced measure

It doesn’t take rocket science to appreciate what Kansas City Chiefs’ tailback Kareem Hunt did with the ball in his hands this season, but just for good measure, the advanced analytics back it up, too.

Hunt recorded the top “average yards gained after close” mark among running backs in the NFL this season according to Next Gen Stats, essentially meaning that he was more effective than any of his counterparts when the opposition was nearly on him.

The metric tracks “which backs are gaining extra yardage after opposing defenders close in on them, whether via broken tackles, evasion or other elusive moves,” according to Matt Harmon at NFL.com. Hunt recorded a 4.63 mark on the season, nearly a full yard over the league average of 3.66.

Interesting enough, the data that contributes to this measure and a multitude of others is tracked through chips installed in each player’s shoulder pads – not just by the naked eye.

Here’s what Harmon had to say about the rookie tailback:

Hunt announced his presence with authority in his first game as an NFL player, dropping 246 total yards (148 rushing, 98 receiving) and three total touchdowns (one rushing, two receiving) on the New England Patriots during the season-opener. The rookie showed he was no one- game fluke by going on to lead the NFL in rushing. Particularly during his dominant stretches to begin and close the season, Hunt was a true challenge to tackle for opposing defenders. He averaged 4.63 yards after defenders closed within 1 yard of him this season, leading all backs with 175-plus carries. If any running back personifies the term "elusive," it's Kareem Hunt.

Check out Harmon’s full rankings and a handful of other Next Gen Stats here.  

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