Danielle Hunter may just be the best kept secret in the NFL. Against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, Hunter recorded three sacks to bring his career total to 52.5. Hunter also became the youngest player to record 50 sacks at the age of 25 years and 40 days. This breaks Robert Quinn’s record of 50 sacks at the age of 25 years and 167 days.
Despite his high volume of sacks in his young career, Hunter has yet to make an all-pro team and also only has one pro bowl appearance. He also has won defensive player of the week one other time, which came in week nine of last year and was also against Detroit. In that game, Hunter recorded three and a half sacks, a fumble recovery, and a defensive touchdown.
Hunter has become a fan favorite in Minnesota, but he hasn’t received the recognition that other players have. On this year’s NFL top 100, nine other defensive ends were ranked above Hunter. Of the nine defensive ends ranked above Hunter, only the New Orleans Saints’ Cameron Jordan has more sacks this season.
The NFL top 100 is voted on by players, so naturally some bias happens, but you wonder if part of the reason that Hunter doesn’t receive as many votes as others is because he isn’t a loud and showy player. Outside of his jump-kick celebration, Hunter rarely draws attention and he rushes from the left side of the line so he doesn’t draw matchups with team’s premiere pass blockers.
Hopefully after this season, Hunter will win some of the recognition he deserves.