Michigan’s Maurice Hurst was set to have one of the more intriguing and anticipated combine performances. The undersized defensive tackle might not have been in consideration as a top pick in the draft even a decade ago, but the trail blazed by Aaron Donald has changed minds regarding the potential of an explosive interior rusher.
On tape, Hurst is one of the quickest and most disruptive defensive tackles in the entire draft, and scouts were anxious to see if the explosiveness on tape could be quantified. However, the medical exam that forms the basis for the NFL Scouting Combine revealed an issue with Hurst’s heart, and he was pulled from the Combine’s on-field workout.
The New York Giants have signed a trio of defensive linemen to help in their transition to a 1-gap 3-4 defense, but now that Hurst was cleared to participate in Michigan’s Pro Day, could he be on their radar?
Hurst pulled out of the combine field workout after potential heart issues were found in the medical portion. He was cleared to participate in Michigan’s pro day, so here are those measurements.
*Pro Day Measurements
40 Yard Dash: 4.97 seconds
short shuttle: 4.62 sec
3-cone drill 7.74 sec
Vertical Jump: 31 inch
Broad Jump: 8 feet, 8 inches,
- Explosive first step. Consistently the first lineman moving off the snap.
- Great leverage. Makes use of his short stature to maximize his power out of his stance.
- Good hand usage and technique. Adept at hand fighting when using finesse or driving in bull rushes
- High motor. Plays through the whistle
- Constantly in opponent’s backfield.
- Versatile. Has played nose tackle in both 3-4 and 4-3 fronts, as well as 3-technique and 5-technique (3-4 defensive end)
- Almost too explosive -- can lose track of the ball
- Relative lack of size shows up when taking on double teams.
- Medical concerns will persist despite clearance to participate in Michigan’s pro day.
- Will simply be too small for some teams, and might face scheme limitations.
What they’re saying
Hurst is an upfield three-technique who gets out of the blocks ahead of his competition as soon as the starter’s pistol goes off. His ability to come out fast and low should create opportunities to become a disruptive penetrator, but he has to prove that he has the strength to play through redirect blocks and hold up against NFL interior linemen. Will need to be cleared medically at re-check after heart irregularities showed up at combine.
Does he fit with the Giants?
Depending on which team is looking at him, Hurst might be the top defensive tackle prospect in a good 2018 class.
He will need to go to a 1-gap, attacking defense that will turn him loose and let him disrupt in offensive backfields. Teams that run more of a 2-gap system or have strict thresholds likely won’t be as interested in Hurst.
And, of course, there is the issue of his heart. It is certainly encouraging that he was cleared to work out in Michigan’s pro day, but every team will want to do their own medical work-up on him.
Assuming all checks out well, Hurst will almost certainly find himself being selected in the first round of April’s draft, perhaps even in the top half of the draft. He likely won’t, however, be selected by the Giants. While Hurst certainly could play in the Giants’ new defensive scheme, likely playing 5-tech or 3-tech, depending on down, distance, and package, it is unlikely that the value will work out. And while Dave Gettleman has never let depth at a position (which the Giants have bolstered considerably over the last month) prevent him from drafting a player, he has never selected a lineman -- offensive or defensive -- with arms as short as Hurst’s 32-inch ones.