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Maurice Hurst is poised for a big season on the Las Vegas Raiders' defensive line

Maurice Hurst was an absolute wrecking ball on the Michigan Wolverines’ defensive line from 2015 to 2017. He put up overall grades of 85.0 or higher as a run defender and as a pass rusher in all three seasons, culminating in a 2017 season where he graded out at 95.0 as a run defender and 91.0 as a pass rusher. In fact, if you look at the highest-graded interior defenders in the FBS since PFF began charting the collegiate ranks, it’s Hurst who comes out on top.

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Highest-graded FBS interior defenders since 2014 (minimum 1,000 snaps played)
Player PFF Overall Grade
1. Maurice Hurst 94.7
2. Ed Oliver 94.6
3. Jeffery Simmons 93.4
4. Jonathan Allen 93.3
5. Dexter Lawrence 92.7

If it weren’t for a heart condition that popped up at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine — something that Hurst had gone through before after an EKG report in his first season at Michigan, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press — Hurst would have been a consensus first-round pick in that year’s draft. For us at PFF, he was the third-ranked player overall on our big board heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, labeled as a “prototypical 3-technique defensive tackle” who “offers a pass-rushing toolbox that no other interior player in this class can come close to matching.”

Sometimes, taking risks as an NFL team pays off. This appears to be the case for the Las Vegas Raiders. Hurst fell all the way into their laps in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, and the heart condition that prompted his fall has yet to cause any issues through two years in the NFL. Even worse for the 31 other teams that passed him up for 139 picks is the fact that Hurst is starting to look like the guy we saw at Michigan again.

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