Jaguars claiming DT Maurice Hurst can be low-risk, high-reward move

The Jacksonville Jaguars have done a good job of bolstering the defensive line this offseason and should continue adding talent in the 2021 NFL Draft. However, they could still upgrade the group before the selection meeting by claiming former Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst off waivers.

The Raiders announced they have waived Hurst. A 2018 fifth-round selection, the Michigan standout originally had a first-round grade but slid in the draft because he was diagnosed with a heart condition in the NFL Scouting Combine.  Nevertheless, this has never been an issue during his NFL career.

Over the last three years, Hurst appeared in 40 games and started 17 for Las Vegas. Last season, he was inactive in four games because of injuries and missed another contest after being placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list. In 2019, he played all 16 games and appeared in 50 percent of the team’s total snaps on defense.

Since 2018, Hurst has logged 76 total tackles, eight tackles for a loss, eight sacks, one forced fumble, and one interception. While the defensive tackle struggled at times against the run due to his inability to take on double teams, he is a good pass rusher. His 78.3 career Pro Football Focus pass-rush grade is second among defensive tackles in the 2018 draft class.

Hurst could be part of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive line rotation.

Hurst may not be a starting defensive tackle at this point of his career. In fact, he would be more effective in a complementary role. He could compete for a roster spot and challenge sophomores Doug Costin and DaVon Hamilton for playing time. Both of them showed promise in 2020 but Hurst could push them.

Last year, the Jags struggled to pressure opposing signal-callers, so they need as much help as possible. Hurst could benefit from a change of scenario and claiming him off of waivers would be a low-risk, high-reward for this Jacksonville team. The defensive tackle showed flashes in Las Vegas and still has the potential to play at a high level. It wouldn’t hurt the Jaguars to take a flyer on him and give him a shot.