Green Bay Packers Should Put in Waiver Claim on Maurice Hurst

Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (73) against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (73) against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the more pressing needs that the Green Bay Packers still have is the interior defensive line position. For starters, more help for Kenny Clark is only a good thing, but on top of that, they lack some serious depth.

Improved play along the interior will not only benefit Clark and help the run game, but there will be a positive trickle-down effect as well to the edge rushers and linebackers. Unfortunately, this isn’t a deep interior defensive line class, and I’m not so sure that the Green Bay Packers can rely on landing an impactful player.

So that leaves free agency, which seems unlikely, and if the Packers are going to turn there, it won’t be until after they see how the draft plays out. But a new option — and a very appealing option — emerged on the waiver wire on Thursday with the Las Vegas Raiders cutting Maurice Hurst.

Hurst was a fifth-round pick out of Michigan by the Raiders in 2018 — Jon Gruden’s first draft back as head coach — and was expected to play a big role in the 2021 season as one of the Raiders’ 3-tech interior defenders.

Over his three-year career, Hurst has appeared in 40 games, including 17 starts, and has flashed on numerous occasions. During that span, he tallied 60 pressures, nine of which were sacks, along with eight tackles for loss, seven passes defended, and a forced fumble.

His best season was in 2019 — when he saw the most playing time — where Hurst recorded 38 of his total pressures that year along with four sacks and four tackles for loss. He ended the season ranked 11th among all interior defensive lineman in PFF’s pass-rush productivity metric–which measures the efficiency of a pass-rusher when it comes to getting after the quarterback.

Unfortunately, after getting off to a fast start in 2020, where we saw improved play against the run from Hurst — he had been a much better pass-rusher up to this point in his career — he would miss time with an injury along with a game going through the COVID protocols. In the end, Hurst played in only 25 percent of the Raiders’ defensive snaps that year.

Adding Hurst makes a lot of sense for the Green Bay Packers, but claiming him through waivers could be tricky.

Hurst’s skill-set as a pass-rusher would make him an ideal fit for the Joe Barry defense that utilizes a single-gap system, where the defender’s job is to get upfield. Kenny Clark will align as the nose tackle with Hurst and Kingsley Keke playing the 4/4i tech roles. From Day 1, Hurst very well could be the second-best interior defender on this Packers team.

However, as we are all aware, the Green Bay Packers don’t have a ton of cap space, just $2.57 million, according to Over the Cap, but as a former Day 3 pick coming off waivers, it’s not as if Hurst is going to break the bank by any means. Not to mention that what seems to be an inevitable extension for Davante Adams would create additional space, as would restructuring Aaron Rodgers’ deal–but again, it’s not as if they need a lot of cap space to bring Hurst in.

Whether the Green Bay Packers are interested or not remains to be seen, but if they are, since Hurst has to go through waivers, it makes landing him tricky. Any team can put in a claim on Hurst; however, he will go to the team with the highest waiver priority. And when it comes to the Packers, like the Draft, they are 29th on the waiver list based on how the 2020 season finished. So for them to land Hurst, they need to put in a claim and hope that none of the other 28 teams in front of them do.

Next. Packers Draft Meeting Tracker 3.0. dark

Given how this offseason has gone and with the draft being right around the corner, this isn’t a move that I’d get my hopes up for, but it’s one that makes a lot of sense for Green Bay. Hurst won’t break the bank; he is still just 25 years old, has been productive in the NFL, plays a position of need, and is an ideal fit for Barry’s defense.

So yeah, I think it’s worth it.