The Dallas Cowboys need improvement on defense, and in particular on the interior of their defensive line. Well, a potential upgrade has become available on the free-agent market as former Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst has cleared waivers, and the Cowboys should make a move to put a star on his helmet.
Hurst spent his college days at the University of Michigan. He was projected to be a first-rounder, however, he was diagnosed with a heart condition at the 2018 NFL scouting combine which saw his draft stock plummet to the fifth round. Nonetheless, he had a very solid start to his professional career.
The former Wolverine registered 49 tackles, 7.5 sacks, an interception, six pass breakups, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in his first two seasons. His 2020 campaign was a challenging one though. Hurst landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list in October which forced him to miss a game. Also, an ankle injury put him on the shelf for another four games.
Hurst didn’t let those setbacks stop him. He amassed his second-most tackles (27) and quarterback hits (6) in his career. According to Pro Football Focus, his 78.3 pass-rush grade since 2018 ranks second among interior defensive linemen.
The Cowboys adding Hurst makes sense for several reasons. Hurst would become a part of a very solid rotation at 3-technique with Neville Gallimore and Trysten Hill, and allow both to get snaps at the 1-technique. Quarterbacks hate getting pressure from the interior and as mentioned earlier Hurst does a great job doing that. He’s only 25 years old, so his best football hasn’t even happened yet. Lastly, he’ll be a cost-efficient signing.
If Hurst were to be brought on board, and apply pressure from the interior at the rate he has during his short career, it will make things easier on DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory coming off the edge.
Now, the only thing left is to see if the issue with his heart checks out. If so, the Cowboys need to make the call.
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