Name: Maurice Hurst
Position: Defensive Tackle
Stats via Sports-Reference.com
Hurst is one of the more intriguing pass rushing tackles in this draft. He thrives on his initial burst and speed to beat slower linemen, darting by them before they have a chance to react. When he is engaged, he uses lightning quick hands to discard. Hurst is never content with maintaining. He is constantly in motion, using quick feet and hands to get by. Hurst’s quickness and explosion make him a nightmare on twists and stunts, getting in the backfield before the offense can adjust.
As a bull rusher, Hurst is a little more blockable. He does not have the powerful upper body of other tackles, so he almost exclusively uses lean and leg drive to gain ground. More often than not, if opponents deter him enough to force a bull rush, that means they have beaten him. In order to successfully overpower opponents, Hurst has to catch them off the snap getting out of their stance. Otherwise, he will almost always prefer to go around than through.
Like in his pass rushing, movement makes Hurst a disruptive force in the run game. His low, quick burst get him in the backfield quickly. Once he has established advantage, he is proficient at finding the ball and pursuing. Hurst can move down the line as well as anyone in the draft, keeping separation on zone blocking purely because of quickness. What is more, he never quits on a play, allowing him to rack up tackles from behind. He has both the motor to engage and discard double teams and the finesse to slip between them. Again, Hurst’s lack of overwhelming power and reliance on continual movement could be an issue at times at the next level. But he frequently makes up for it with a leverage advantage.
It has been said to death in this profile already, but it bears repeating: Burst is what seets Hurst apart as an NFL prospect. He explodes off the line hard and low, often before the lineman is even out of his stance. It gives him an immediate edge in leverage and positioning and frequently results in disruption. Due to his relative lack of power, Hurst will make his money in the NFL on his quick twitch.
Hurst’s size leaves some question marks. His 282 pounds suggest he needs to pack on a few, but he is already thick through the trunk. Some scouts believe he has already maxed out in terms of functional mass. He has similar measurements to reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, so this will not necessarily be a detriment. But it is one of the things keeping him from being a high-first round prospect.
Hurst is the prototypical 4-3 3-technique-exclusive tackle at the next level. Which works for the Vikings as that is their exact need on the defensive line. Hurst could start day one on the Vikings as he is, in a sense, a quicker, more talented version of Tom Johnson. Next to a monstrous run-stuffer in Linval Joseph, Hurst would face a lot more single teams and have the opportunity to immediate flex his pass rushing prowess.
He is also a more plausible pick than Da’Ron Payne and Vita Vea. While those two appear to be more complete prospects, they will probably both be top-25 selections. Hurst is more likely to fall, given his size. But even if he is number three at his position in this class, Hurst brings an ability that is at a premium in the NFL today and can be an immediate contributor.
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