Atlanta Falcons: 2018 NFL Draft Notebook Vol. 2
Falcons 2018 Draft Player Spotlight:
Michigan Sr DL Maurice Hurst Jr
– The needs for the Atlanta Falcons heading into 2018 aren’t set in stone like most teams heading deeper into the year because of the Falcons abundance of versatile talent to fill voids that occur throughout the year. Still the Atlanta Falcons have to take into effect that defensive linemen Dontari Poe and Ahtyba Rubin are playing on one-year contracts along with the issue that Grady Jarrett is the only true interior defensive linemen signed through the 2018 season. As we approach closer and closer towards the end of the regular season, many eyes from the Falcons scouting department may drift towards finding more talent to help build the defense into a more balanced defense squad. As we begin looking through many great talented interior defensive linemen in this year’s draft, I would like to believe that NO defensive linemen should deserve more attention from Atlanta than Michigan’s Maurice Hurst Jr.
Hurst is what many football fans would like to call, “A man amongst boys” as he dominates through competition in the BIG10 conference. Since Michigan’s victory against Purdue in Week 4 to their loss against Wisconsin in Week 12, Hurst recorded at least half of a registered sack and one tackle for loss per each game. It’ll be easy for many fans to read the box score stats and believe the hype surrounding around Hurst but watching him on full display during a game only shows how he can impact a game against both the pass and run.
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Listed at 6’2″ 285 pounds, Hurst take control of each game like many other previous shorter defensive linemen in the past like Aaron Donald, Geno Atkins, and Grady Jarrett by being able to play with a controlled speed while also maintaining a low pad-level when penetrating the pocket. Many young defensive linemen tend to depend on guessing the offense’s snap count which usually leads to a high amount of penalties but Hurst does a great job of exploding at the snap of the ball by simply having better timing of the snap and being able to shoot through most gaps without being touched.
Powerful at the point of attack when striking his hands into blockers and completely bullying others with brute strength. A lot of Hurst’s versatility to disrupt at multiple positions gives Michigan the option to line up in different sets while also being comfortable enough to pressure on Hurst to handle gap responsibilities in three and even sometimes two-defensive linemen sets. If the Falcons are fortunate enough to make a move towards selecting Hurst in the upcoming draft then it could build into a terror front-seven with the likes of Vic Beasley, Grady Jarrett, Adrain Clayborn, and Takk McKinley.