After being drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL draft by the Raiders, Maurice Hurst produced a solid rookie year, and looked like a draft day steal. He followed that up with an impressive sophomore campaign.
The aforementioned second-year campaign was ranked by PFF as the 30th best of any interior defender this past season (more on that later). Let’s take a look at his 2019 performance:
Hurst by the numbers
Hurst appeared in all 16 games last year, which is impressive since the main concern surrounding him coming out of college was his health. He started four matches, and had 522 total defensive snaps.
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The defensive tackle had 18 total tackles and four tackles for a loss in 2019. He had three passes defensed, and recovered two fumbles. His sack total went down from four to 3.5. However, he recorded eight quarterback hits, five more than his rookie season. He also had this awesome 55-yard interception return.
Maurice Hurst with an INT! Takes it 50 yards! #OAKvsTEN pic.twitter.com/oqXT2EbkJk
— Raiders Report Mitchell Renz (@MitchellRenz365) December 8, 2019
Hurst had an impressive sophomore season, and Pro Football Focus awarded him a 72.2 overall grade, good enough for 30th among all interior defensive lineman. This is great, considering he was ranked ahead of players such as Gerald McCoy (72, CAR) and Ndamukong Suh (69.7, TB).
Hurst’s ability to attack the quarterback was his best quality last year by a large margin. He earned a 76.5 rating from PFF for pass-rushing prowess, 14th among all interior lineman. He was ranked higher than DeForest Buckner, McCoy (again) and Geno Atkins. Although his sack total decreased, he showed a much-improved ability to get to the quarterback, as evidenced by his hit total increasing by five.
Here is the HORRIBLE roughing the passer call on Maurice Hurst that took away a Raiders INT… #OAKvsCHI pic.twitter.com/pgGooNxjYz
— Raiders Report Mitchell Renz (@MitchellRenz365) October 6, 2019
In the video above, Hurst is able to evade the blocker well, and get to Chase Daniels right as he releases the ball. The tackle did not deserve the bogus roughing the passer flag that was thrown on this play either.
However, his run defense was not nearly as good. Hurst really struggled in this area last year and was rated a mere 58.2 grade, which is fair since he made just 10 solo tackles in the 16 games he appeared in. Hurst is excellent at attacking the passer, but if he wants to take the next step to become a complete dominant lineman, he must improve in this department.
Bottom line for the Raiders
Maurice Hurst had a successful sophomore season. He was able to get to the quarterback at a higher rate, and playing in every game was huge for his development.
Overall, he has a promising career ahead of him. A fifth-round pick being ranked as a top 30 interior defensive lineman this young in his career is impressive. As a prospect, Hurst always had early round talent, but his health issues pushed him back in the draft. He’s now played every game in an NFL season, and put up good numbers as well. If he can improve his tackling and run defense, he could form a scary combo with Maxx Crosby. All of Raider Nation should be excited about Maurice Hurst moving forward.
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