Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was part of the Las Vegas Raiders’ first draft under head coach Jon Gruden. Heading into his third year, the Michigan product is ready for a bigger role in the Silver and Black defense.
The Las Vegas Raiders just kept one of their DT’s from the 2018 class
Two years after he was drafted, Hurst has outlasted fellow defensive tackle P.J. Hall. While the Raiders selected both players in 2018’s draft, Hurst has shown progress while Hall failed to leave a good impression, which led to his release early this year.
Hurst has steadily displayed signs of growth, his total pressures increased from 11 in 2018 to 39 last season. Even though his sack numbers remained the same at four, he disrupted the line of scrimmage more often in 2019. Moreover, he had an 83.1 Pro Football Focus pass-rushing grade from Week 9 through the end of the 2019 regular season. That mark ranked fourth among interior defenders behind Aaron Donald, Kenny Clark, and Chris Jones.
One thing that will help Hurst perform even better is the addition of Maliek Collins, who played under defensive line coach Rod Marinelli in Dallas. Entering his fifth year in the NFL, Collins’ experience will be invaluable in the Raiders young defensive line room.
Maliek Collins will help Maurice Hurst get better
Even though Collins is the newcomer, he already knows Marinelli’s system from their time with the Cowboys. Currently, he’s been helping Hurst get a better grasp of the scheme. In his latest video conference, Hurst talked about the positive impact Collins has had since he joined the team. Not only has he helped Hurst get a better hold of the defense, but they are pushing each other to be better.
“He’s been great. We’re actually in the same class, but he’s got two more years experience than me. He’s been in a system with Marinelli, it’s been really helpful to pick his brain day in day out. Our 3-technique runs our defense, [is a]very crucial part of what we’re trying to do. Just having someone like that to compete with, to push each other to get better every day is something not many teams have.”
Also, Hurst talked about his goals for this year, which include a trip to the Super Bowl. He knows it won’t be easy though as the Raiders will play against some of the best teams in the league and the AFC West will be tough in 2020.
“I just want to win some games, win a Super Bowl. Just compete and be one of the better teams in the league. With our schedule, we play some of the best teams this year, the Saints, Chiefs, Bucs, all those teams. We’re in a tough division. It’s just a really exciting time. We got a lot better and a lot faster. I’ve been here since coach Gruden got here and just to see the transition from year to year has just been insane.”
Reaching the Super Bowl will be a difficult task to achieve: Nevertheless, an improved Hurst in conjunction with Collins and all the additions the Raiders made in the offseason should give them a better chance to accomplish it.
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