SB Nation: Mo Hurst impressing in Raiders OTAs

SB Nation: Mo Hurst impressing in Raiders OTAs

Football

SB Nation: Mo Hurst impressing in Raiders OTAs


The former Wolverine was expected to be a first-round pick in April’s NFL Draft, but his heart condition caused a precipitous fall to the fifth-round. But now that he’s hit the field, he’s impressing as always expected.


SB Nation: Mo Hurst impressing in Raiders OTAs

Call Michigan fans surprised…

Okay, not really.

It was quickly apparent last season that former Wolverines DT Maurice Hurst was a force along the interior defensive line — a notion strongly echoed by scouting website Pro Football Focus, who called Hurst the most dominant player on the defensive side of the ball in 2017.

However, when Hurst was flagged at the NFL Scouting Combine for a heart abnormality — one for which was detected by Michigan his freshman year, and for which he was subsequently cleared — it spooked NFL GMs. So much so that the player, who was in many mock drafts as the second or third DT taken off the board, found himself slipping and sliding all the way to the fifth round.

But, the Oakland Raiders were the team that stepped up and took the standout talent, and according to SB Nation’s Raiders site, Silver and Black Pride, the team couldn’t be more thrilled to have him, now that they’ve seen firsthand what he can do.

The Raiders took some heat for making the First-Team All-American their selection at 140th overall. Teams around the league viewed the move as “irresponsible” despite Hurst having been medically cleared by doctors at both Harvard University and the University of Michigan.

Without that red flag, the star defensive tackle was a top-ten talent in the draft. Raider Nation was thrilled when Hurst was drafted, but they weren’t the only ones happy with the selection. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was shocked Hurst was even on the board.

“I was saying, ‘Draft him, right here,’” Guenther said this week following OTA practices. “When you watch him play at Michigan, he had certain traits for a three-technique in our defense. When he started to slide and he was there for us to pick in the fifth round, I couldn’t believe it, really.”

The Hurst that Michigan fans were used to bragging about was one who had just about the fastest “get off” from the snap as observers had seen at the position.

Now that he’s a Raider, fans of the Bay Area AFC team are learning the same, as the Oakland coaches are raving about his intense first-step.

The 6-2, 290-pounder is a perfect fit for Guenther’s 4-3 defense that relies heavily on defensive lineman to create pressure without blitzing. His skill set is comparable to six-time Pro Bowler Geno Atkins, who saw some of his most productive seasons under Guenther when he was the Bengals defensive coordinator from 2014-2017.

“He has great off,” added Guenther. “The three-technique is the penetrator of our defense. He does a great job with that. He’s going to have to learn big man’s game a little bit where you don’t get the double teams as much in college. You’re going to get a lot more of that in the NFL. Then obviously in the pass rush. He’s slippery in the pass rush. He has good side to side movement. He’s a powerful guy.”

Hurst was picked 140th overall by Oakland, and is expected to contend for a backup position to incumbent starter Eddie Vanderdoes.

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