Now that the 2018 NFL Draft is complete, dynasty fantasy football decisions are on the line. As a former high school football coach and educator by trade, one of my passions include providing film-based reviews on rookie prospects and focusing on their strengths and weakness which may assist other fantasy football enthusiasts in their evaluations.
After reviewing five of his games, here’s my scouting report on former Michigan Wolverine and current Oakland Raiders defensive lineman Maurice Hurst:
[Note: Most of these game videos are available via YouTube and Draft Breakdown]
DT/DE Maurice Hurst, Oakland (Pick #140)
6’2” | 282 lbs.
Ohio State, Penn State, Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin
Hurst was initially expected to be drafted in the late first or second round of the Draft until doctors at the Combine discovered a heart condition. He got sent home and was checked out by the medical staff at the University of Michigan (“U of M”). U of M cleared him, but Hurst dropped to the fifth round because of these medical concerns. The rookie Raiders defender is not an ideal size for an interior defensive lineman from both a height and weight standpoint, but this did not hinder Rams defender Aaron Donald so there is hope that if Hurst finds himself playing an under tackle role, he could be an effective playmaker.
His smaller body takes away his ability to play nose guard and may limit his snaps at a defensive end spot as most offensive tackles would have 50+ pounds and several inches on him. Hurst isn’t overly powerful and has some issues disengaging from would-be blockers. Hopefully, his defensive coaches will teach him rips, swims, and dips to go along with his bull rushes. He likes to gamble on plays a lot, which is fine when you are the most athletic front seven defender on the team. However, Hurst certainly won’t be that on the Raiders with Khalil Mack playing a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end. If the Raiders play more 3-4 than 4-3, Hurst’s playing time might be quite limited.
He has a lightning-quick first step off the line of scrimmage which could force offensive schemes to gear against him directly. While that might make Hurst less effective, the opportunities that could spring open to his teammates would have a rippling impact. The defensive tackle has powerful, meaty hands that knock blockers back. This jolt that he delivers creates room for him to maneuver and wreck havoc. Many of Hurst’s biggest collegiate plays have been when he shoots gaps with his natural quickness, forcing the offensive to redirect themselves to other areas.
Hurst is quite athletic for his size. He ran a sub-five second 40-yard dash and had a 31-inch vertical jump at his Michigan pro day. If he had been allowed to compete at the Combine, those numbers would have certainly stuck out. His closing speed is quite evident on his college tape with his chasing down running backs on sweeps or down the field. Hurst has a natural “feel” to where the ball is going while moving heaven and earth to get there. Unlike most defenders that specialize against the run or pass, the Raiders defender can play both well, allowing him to stay on the field and make a more significant impact. If Pro Football Focus (PFF) grades move the needle for you, Hurst was a PFF College All-American and All-Big Ten honoree. He had the highest grade of any individual player at any position in the country (96.9 on a 100-point scale).
Hurst certainly comes with his medical concerns and a smaller than ideal body, but there have been a few successful smaller interior defensive linemen in recent years. He should be quite successful against guards with his forceful mitts and quickness if he plays the under tackle role in a 4-3. If played in spots to his strengths, Hurst could make a huge impact year one.
In fantasy circles, Hurst is getting ignored quite often in most rookie drafts due to the health concerns and his NFL fifth-round selection. For leagues that start a separate defensive tackle position, he is a must draft. Hurst is also a good add in big play leagues that award extra points for sacks, sack yardage lost, pass deflections, and forced fumbles.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to generate and discuss 2018 rookie scouting reports with you leading up to the start of the NFL season so be sure to keep an eye on DTC for new content. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.