Raiders fans might be surprised, but Michigan football fans assuredly are not.
ESPN: Hurst ‘Surprise Offseason Standout’ For Oakland Raiders
He’s better than your average fifth-round pick.
Former Michigan DT Mo Hurst was an absolute force in the middle of the defensive line in 2017, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ best player on defense, regardless of position, last season. He was so good, he was near the top of the scouting site’s draft board, and was the highest-graded interior defender that PFF has ever rated.
But that confounding heart condition was detected at the NFL Scouting Combine, and it derailed Hurst’s first-round dreams.
From there, you know the story. The dominant DT had a precipitous fall, and was selected by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth-round.
While some pundits have decried that he was even selected in the first place — despite being cleared by doctors at both Michigan and Harvard — the Raiders are starting to feel like they got the ultimate steal. In fact, that’s the report that’s come in from OTAs, as Hurst has continued to be a force upon reporting to the silver and black.
Now ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez says he’s hearing, not only that Hurst is killing it out in the Bay, but that he’s their best rookie at this juncture.
Hurst has been more than a pleasant surprise for Oakland in that he is running with the first-team defense in its 4-3 base at left defensive tackle (last year’s starter, Eddie Vanderdoes, is rehabbing from a torn ACL) and has starred in the offseason. Beating All-Pro Kelechi Osemele when he flipped sides not only opened the eyes of the coaches, but also got the attention of Osemele, who gave the rookie the, ahem, business.
Time will tell if Hurst supplants Vanderdoes once he returns healthy. But Michigan fans can rest easy, knowing that Hurst will assuredly be getting lots of time on Sundays, should he continue his trajectory from Ann Arbor.