Lions grab speedy, versatile RB Jason Huntley late in fifth round
The 172nd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had quite a journey before the Detroit Lions used it to take New Mexico State running back Jason Huntley in the fifth round Saturday afternoon.
Originally belonging to the Seattle Seahawks, the pick was traded to the Lions in exchange for safety Quandre Diggs last year. The Lions then used it to replace Diggs, shipping it to New England for Duron Harmon last month. The Las Vegas Raiders then ended up with 172 on Friday night, part of a five-pick swap that saw the New England Patriots trading up toward the end of the third round for tight end Devin Asiasi.
Finally, the asset ended up back in the hands of the Lions in the early stages of the draft's third day, part of another five-pick deal in the fourth round so the Raiders could come up to No. 109 and snag Clemson offensive lineman John Simpson.
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Huntley is a speedy Swiss Army knife. At his pro day, he ran a blistering 4.37 second 40-yard dash, capping a college career where he racked up yards as a runner, receiver and return man over four seasons with the Aggies.
"When you look at the versatility he brings, he can play from the backfield, but you could also line him up as a slot receiver and create some mismatches there too," New Mexico State coach Doug Martin told KTSM-TV in El Paso. "He brings a lot to the table."
As a senior in 2019, Huntley carried the ball 154 times for 1,090 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns. He added another 192 yards and two scores with 40 receptions, averaging 42 catches the past three seasons.
"I think that’s the biggest thing about me, my speed," Huntley said. "I’m good in space."
Working as schools primary kickoff returner during that three-year stretch, he averaged 25.8 yards and brought five attempts back for touchdowns.
"It’s not all on me, it’s about my teammates having some good blocks and things like that," Huntley said. "The biggest part is just trying to hit it full speed. If you can hit it without stopping, you’ll be successful."
Huntley is the second running back selected by the Lions this year. The team also added Georgia's D'Andre Swift early in the second round with pick No. 35.
Jason Huntley, RB, New Mexico State
Hometown: Arlington, Texas (Martin High School)
Age: 22 (April 20, 1998)
Notable: Last season: 154 attempts, 1,090 yards (7.1 YPC), nine touchdowns ... Led FBS in 2018 with three kickoff returns for touchdowns.