Las Vegas defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr. seems poised to have a breakout season in 2020. He has all the tools to take off in his third year in the NFL.
The Raiders had a less than stellar draft class in 2018. So far, it seems like Kolton Miller is the best of the bunch. However, Hurst could quickly displace the left tackle as the best player Las Vegas selected three drafts ago.
The DT’s Steady Progress
According to Pro Football Focus analyst Ben Linsey, Hurst had the fourth-best passing grade in the NFL from Week 9 to 17 last year.
Highest pass-rushing grades among DI from Week 9 to 17:— Ben Linsey (@PFF_Linsey) May 15, 2020
1. Aaron Donald: 92.2
2. Kenny Clark: 90.6
3. Chris Jones: 85.3
4. Maurice Hurst: 83.1
5. Grady Jarrett: 82.4
The Raiders need a big Year 3 from Hurst, and I think there's a good chance it's coming.
Hurst might not have been that much of a factor in the first half of the year. Nevertheless, his PFF grade is indicative of his growth at the position. Moreover, the defensive tackle seems to be steadily improving. In his rookie year, PFF gave him a 70.1 overall grade. In his sophomore season, he got a 73.1 grade. Moreover, his number of pressures increase from 11 to 38. Likewise, he recorded four quarterback hits after not recording one in his first year. If Hurst continues trending up, he’ll surely become a difference maker in the trenches.
On the other hand, while Hurst’s running grade dropped from 69.2 to 58.2, it’s unlikely it will keep going down. If anything, his run stop mark should be similar to how it was in 2018.
Another thing that will possibly help Hurst to have a bigger impact is the addition of Maliek Collins. The former Cowboys defensive tackle was a staple of his team’s defensive line rotation last year. Even if he isn’t an All-Pro tackle, he will likely be an upgrade over P.J. Hall And Johnathan Hankins. He should definitely help Hurst.
Although other players on the Raiders roster may get the spotlight in 2020, Hurst is poised to receive as much attention this upcoming season.
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