The Las Vegas Raiders surprised many when they announced they were letting go of Maurice Hurst and Arden Key. The decision to let go of Key wasn’t too surprising but Hurst has been one of the team’s best young defenders. He had a down year in 2020 but showed a lot of promise in 2018 and 2019.
One Raiders player who took note of Hurst getting cut was cornerback Trayvon Mullen. He only had one word to describe how he felt when he heard the news.
— Trayvon Mullen Jr (@MullenIsland1) April 15, 2021
That’s the same way many Raiders fans responded. Though Hurst wasn’t a star by any means, he was one of the few draft picks that team has made in recent years who hasn’t been a complete flop. He was never a great run defender but could get after the passer. Considering the Raiders have been among the worst in the NFL at getting after quarterbacks, it seems really unwise to just get rid of a young pass rusher who has shown promise.
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Hurst Sends Message to Raiders Fans
Hurst has been nothing but class since joining the Raiders. He hasn’t gotten into any trouble and has developed into a fan favorite. He had a message for Raider Nation after the news dropped that he would no longer be a part of the team.
Thank you Raider Nation for embracing me these past 3 years. It’s been an honor playing in front of you. My story is yet to be told✌🏾 pic.twitter.com/O4NJ2dOZtP
— Maurice Hurst Jr (@mohurstjr) April 15, 2021
When the team drafted Hurst, it was a serious risk. He was considered to have early first-round pick talent but was diagnosed with a heart condition that caused him to slip all the way to the fifth round. The heart condition hasn’t ended up being an issue for the former Michigan star. Though nobody would say that he’s played like a player who should’ve been a top-10 draft pick, he’s been very solid.
The Raiders have consistently fielded bad defenses so it’s not like Hurst has had a lot of help. He’s still got a ton of potential and it’s easy to see him having a lot of success on a more talented defense.
Where Could Hurst End Up?
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Hurst has cleared waivers without a claim put it. Despite that fact, he should have plenty of suitors. The most obvious landing spot for him would be the Arizona Cardinals. Former Raiders defensive line coach Brenston Buckner is coaching over there. Though Hurst only played one year under him, he did notch 3.5 sacks. With J.J. Watt and Chandler Jones at the defensive ends, Hurst would have a much easier time getting after quarterbacks.
The New England Patriots also make a lot of sense. Hurst is from Canton, Massachusetts, and grew up a fan of the team. When the Raiders played the Patriots last year, Bill Belichick praised the young defensive lineman and gave a very detailed answer on what he does well. Belichick is a defensive mastermind and could certainly figure out how to unlock Hurst’s potential.
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