Due to the Las Vegas Raiders acquiring Maliek Collins this offseason, defensive tackle Maurice Hurst may lose snaps on the Raiders’ defensive line.
Hurst, a fifth-round pick from the University of Michigan, has been regarded as a second-round talent with first-round potential, but a heart condition kept skepticism regarding his future high. Fortunately, Hurst has not encountered any problems of the sort and continues to grow and improve. In his first two seasons in the NFL, Hurst raised his total pressures from 11 to 38. Unfortunately, despite the tripling of his pressures, his sacks have remained stagnant. But, with the power and potential dominance of Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, and Collins, 4 sacks on 38 pressures could be just what the team needs.
Pro Football Focus still has Hurst as the highest-ranked interior defender from an FBS school, meaning the skill and talent are at the ready, and there are certainly no questions about how much he wants it, but production is still lacking. The best part of Hurst’s position is that success can be measured on a committee basis. If Hurst’s fellow defensive lineman is causing chaos, which we know they will be, he will be able to capitalize on the chaos and increase his stats.
The point being, having Hurst as the potentially least-dangerous starting lineman on the team is by no means a bad thing. Hurst is still an above-average defensive lineman and is only entering his third season. If he can continue trending upwards and increasing his pressures, the sacks will pile up. Yet, he will also help the Raiders rise to boast one of the NFL’s most dominant defensive lines.
To put it in a different sense, Hurst is the ice cubes to a nice glass of lemonade; he may not be the main factor, but including him certainly helps. Because of the Raiders’ big names on defense, Hurst may not ever truly rise to stardom but could cement himself as a key cog in the Raiders’ machine. Ferrell and Crosby received copious amounts of attention, and Collins could turn heads.
Even if Hurst does not continue on his rapid pace of improvement, the entire line will reap the benefits. But, should he continue improving, Hurst will take this Raiders’ defense from good to great. The work is cut out for Hurst. The edge positions look locked down by Crosby and Ferrell. Collins should start Week, but Hurst contends with the expectation to succeed. But, the starting spot is certainly Hurst’s to lose.