Heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, it's pretty clear defensive tackle is toward the top of the Dallas Cowboys' needs. Dallas has invested multiple draft picks and resources into the secondary, linebackers, and defensive ends, but their interior defensive line still needs to add depth and talent. One potential target to fill this need is Michigan Wolverines Defensive Tackle Maurice Hurst.
Over at Slant Sports I completed a full scouting report on Hurst, giving him a first-round grade and ranking him atop this defensive tackle class.
At 6'2″ and about 280 pounds, Maurice Hurst clearly projects as a three technique at the professional level. Hurst played the under-tackle most of the time at Michigan, but he did kick down over the center or inside the guards at times. Still, I wouldn't expect a team to draft Hurst to be their one tech of the future.
Hurst is an explosive beast at defensive tackle.
Playing with a nonstop motor, Hurst won off the ball often, but also created effort and hustle plays behind the line of scrimmage during his college career. Hurst's first step, quick hands, ability to win with leverage, and overall explosiveness shine through on film.
“Here's an example of that explosive first step. Hurst is lined up as the 3-technique on the far side. Winning with his first-step quickness and burst, Hurst gives the offensive linemen absolutely no chance to block him. He then powers through the recovery attempt by the lineman to make the tackle in the backfield.” ~Slant Sports
Hurst clearly doesn't have the prototypical size of a defensive tackle in the NFL, but his play style suits his body well.
His explosiveness and burst off the ball make him incredibly dangerous, and his quick hands, low pad level, and strong lower body help him to win against any offensive lineman.
He obviously isn't at the same level, and may not deserve eye-to-eye comparisons with this player, but Maurice Hurst's play style and body type remind me of a young Aaron Donald. (I'm not saying he's better than Aaron Donald, save the comments).
In terms of his fit with the Cowboys, Hurst would compete with Maliek Collins for playing time at three technique.
Respected draft guru Dane Brugler, has mocked Hurst to Dallas in his latest mock draft, but the way they handle both Collins and impending restricted free agent David Irving will play a huge role in determining if Hurst would even fill a need.
Regardless, Maurice Hurst is a name deserving of first-round buzz, and Cowboys Nation should keep their eyes on him this offseason.