Maurice Hurst 2018 NFL Draft Profile

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Maurice Hurst
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Overview
Position
: Interior defensive lineman
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 282 pounds
School: Michigan Wolverines

Maurice Hurst 2018 NFL Draft Profile

Maurice Hurst sports NFL bloodlines. His father of the same name played seven seasons in the league as a defensive back, all with the New England Patriots and his 27 career interceptions are currently seventh in franchise history. But the elder Hurst never played a part in his son’s life with Maurice, Jr.’s mother raising him herself. Hurst was a top 50 defensive tackle prospect in 2013 and comprised the same Michigan recruiting class that produced 2017 first round pick, Taco Charlton.

The Westwood, MA native redshirted as a freshman and saw scant playing time a year later. It wasn’t until his third season in Ann Arbor that he began to make an impact on the Wolverines defensive front. He appeared in all 13 games, making four starts, and finished tied for fourth¬†on the team in both tackles for loss (6.5) and sacks (3.0). But Hurst truly broke out over his final two seasons in Maize and Blue. His 10.5 sacks and 24.5 tackles for loss ranked second and third on the team respectively in that time.

Hurst garnered multiple accolades for his performance both on and off the field during his college career. As a senior, he earned consensus All-American Honors, was named first-team All-Big Ten and won defensive player of the year as well as team MVP. But he also excelled academically. Hurst made Academic All-Conference in all four seasons he saw the field and graduated with a degree in sports management in 2016. He’s currently pursuing a Master’s in social work with a focus on child/youth services.

Strengths

  • immensely explosive at the point of attack;
  • overleverages blockers with solid base and center of gravity;
  • quick-footed player who can create havoc on stunts;
  • active hands enables him to dispatch and penetrate laterally;
  • can make plays both inside and outside the tackles due to plus athleticism;
  • anticipates open gap and utilizes balance and footwork to twist into it;
  • not a one-trick pony – consistently generates pressure as a run stuffer and pass rusher.

Weaknesses

  • lack of prototypical size might limit his scheme versatility;
  • big-bodied, physical linemen can keep him at bay;
  • could improve ability to diagnose and contain;
  • slow to disengage blocker¬†which lets plays develop right past him;
  • pad level can get ahead of his feet on initial contact;
  • could add a counter move to his repertoire as a means to shed blocks;
  • becomes a relative non-factor when double-teamed.

NFL Comparison: Sheldon Richardson

Teams With Need at Position: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins

Projection: Middle to late first round

Bottom Line

Scheme fit will be key in getting the most out of Hurst at the next level. There’s certainly room in this league for an athletic yet undersized interior defender. The Richardson comp is apt but other players such Geno Atkins and Gerald McCoy among others have proven in recent years you can succeed without being a brute from a size standpoint. That said, teams might see him as primarily a weak side three-technique in a 4-3 alignment. There’s certainly the possibility of him becoming an instant impact player. But doing so requires him to add some more functional play strength. That might be the difference between him becoming a rotational body on the interior of the defensive front as opposed to realizing his ceiling as a regular starter and potential Pro Bowler.

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