Jaguars should put in a waiver claim for DT Maurice Hurst

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Tyler Nettuno
·2 min read
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The Las Vegas Raiders made a surprising move on Thursday when they waived fourth-year defensive tackle Maurice Hurst. The 25-year-old was taken in the fifth round back in 2018, and he had 76 tackles and eight sacks in his three seasons with the Raiders.

During his final season at Michigan in college, he was a consensus All-American and First Team All-Big Ten selection. He was projected as a first-round pick, but after being diagnosed with a heart condition at the NFL combine, his stock plummeted.

That hasn’t seemed to impact his play, though. He started 10 of the 13 games he appeared in as a rookie, totaling career-best marks in tackles (31) and sacks (four). He played in every game in 2019, and though he only started four games, he maintained similar production. Though his tackles decreased to 18, he still managed 3.5 sacks and had eight quarterback pressures, five more than his rookie season.

He was off to a solid start in 2020, notching 13 tackles in the first four games, but was placed on the COVID-19 list on Oct. 6. He returned for the next two games but missed the following four. His play never got back on track after that, though he finished with 27 tackles.

Still, Hurst has proven himself to be a talented pass rusher when healthy and he’s decent against the run, as well. And according to Raiders Wire editor Marcus Mosher, who covered Hurst in Las Vegas, he’d be a better addition than any player available at the position in the draft at the end of the month.

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Jacksonville addressed the defensive line in free agency with signings like Roy Robertson-Harris and Jihad Ward (as well as the acquisition of Malcom Brown from New Orleans). However, after Tyson Alualu changed his mind on signing with the Jags and decided to return to Pittsburgh, there’s not quite as much depth there as they would like.

There’s a good chance they’ll address defensive tackle in the draft, possibly with a player like Christian Barmore from Alabama. But if they choose to focus on other areas of need, putting in a waiver claim for Hurst could be a viable solution, especially with them being first in the waiver wire (based on team records).

The Jaguars still need to do a lot of work if they don’t want their defense to be near the bottom of the NFL again in 2021. Adding Hurst would represent a step in the right direction.