When the Raiders drafted Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurts, you heard two distinct noises. First, the collective cheer of some members of RaiderNation. Next, you felt a groan of uncertainty regarding his health issues. Eventually, someone was going to select Hurst, why not the Raiders. However, Hurst’s selection could end up as one of the most scrutinized picks of the McKenzie era.
As mentioned, Hurst fell from a project mid first round pick to a fifth rounder. According to multiple reports, an issue remains with his heart. While no one knows the specifics, the situation does appear rather serious. While head, knees, and shoulders dominate injury conversation, the heart remains the only indisputable body part to worry about. With Hurst’s condition not readily available to the media, people begin to speculate. If anyone tells you, they have a specific clue, check twice. Due to HIPAA regulations, we may never know.
If you follow the Raiders for any period, you know of the franchise’s history of taking chances. In that case, DJ Hayden should automatically spring to mind. During a practice, Hayden tore his vena cava, a large vein that carries blood to the heart. Due to surgery, Hayden resumed his playing career. However, according to reports, if Hurst undergoes surgery his career ends.
For older fans, the name Leon Bender may ring a bell. In 1998, the Raiders selected the former Washington State tackle 31st overall. Weeks after the draft, Bender, a known epileptic, suffered a fatal seizure. He never played a down in the NFL.
Not to sound callous, if Maurice Hurst can provide documentation of his being cleared, fans need to accept it. In addition, no one should gasp every time Hurst makes contact with an offensive lineman. The Raiders fully vetted the situation and probably took all necessary steps.
With that said, Hurst brings disruption to the middle of the Raiders defense. Combined with PJ Hall, Oakland actually has the potential to keep sending active tackles into the game. Furthermore, the shared snaps could extend Hurst’s career.
In reality, no one knows how Maurice Hurst feels better than Maurice Hurst does. While no one wants a tragedy, he remains an adult, able to make his own decision. On the field, Hurst gives the Raiders a first round talent at a bargain price. If Hurst plays with the same reckless abandon he did while at Michigan, the Raiders could have the steal of the 2018 Draft.