Maurice Hurst

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/2/21

Here is Saturday’s batch of minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

  • Promoted: CB Cam Lewis

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC West

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These CardinalsRamsSeahawks and 49ers moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC West transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Arizona Cardinals

Signed to practice squad:

Los Angeles Rams

Signed to practice squad:

San Francisco 49ers

Signed:

Placed on IR: 

Signed to practice squad:

Seattle Seahawks

Claimed:

Signed:

Released/Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

49ers To Sign DT Maurice Hurst

A week after getting cut by the Raiders, Maurice Hurst has found a new home. The defensive lineman is signing with the 49ers, according to ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter).

[RELATED: Raiders Cut Arden Key, Maurice Hurst]

The All-American out of Michigan was a potential first-round pick heading into the 2018 draft, but a heart condition caused him to fall to the fifth round. The Raiders scooped him up, and the defensive tackle was an immediate return on investment. Hurst started 10 of his 13 games as a rookie, finishing with 31 tackles and four sacks.

Unfortunately, those numbers still stand as career highs. Hurst found himself mostly playing in a backup role in 2019, and this culminated in him appearing in a career-low 23-percent of his team’s defensive snaps in 2020. With the Raiders having already added linemen Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson this offseason, the team decided to move on from the 25-year-old earlier this month.

Hurst was cut alongside Arden Key, who was coincidentally picked up by the 49ers yesterday. Hurst still possesses some upside (eight sacks, 17 QB hits in three seasons), and that makes him a low-risk, high-reward signing for the 49ers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Cut Arden Key, Maurice Hurst

The Raiders are making some big cuts on their defensive line. Las Vegas has waived defensive end Arden Key and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

The Raiders have already added free agents like Yannick Ngakoue and Quinton Jefferson this offseason, making these guys more expendable. Both Key and Hurst were drafted by the Raiders in 2018, Key in the third-round and Hurst in the fifth. Hurst was initially viewed as a much better prospect, and potentially a first-rounder, until a heart condition was discovered just before the combine.

That heart issue was initially feared to be career-threatening, but fortunately Hurst was able to be cleared to play. He fell to 140th overall though, costing him a lot of money in the process. In the end, neither player made it to the end of their rookie deals.

Key started 10 games as a rookie but was used as a rotational player this past year. Despite playing around 40 percent of the defensive snaps, he finished with no sacks. The LSU product was the 87th pick in 2018 and is still only 24, so he should get scooped up before too long.

Hurst, who will turn 26 next month, was fairly productive his first two years in the league. From 2018-19, he had 7.5 sacks, six passes defended, an interception, and a couple of fumble recoveries. He was limited to 11 games this past year, finishing with 27 tackles, a half sack, and one pass defended.

Raiders Place DT Maurice Hurst On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Raiders may be without one of their rotational defensive linemen Sunday against the Chiefs. They placed Maurice Hurst on their reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Players do not have to test positive for the coronavirus to land on this list; they only need to have come in contact with someone who has. But considering the NFL’s issues with COVID-19 over the past several days, this bears monitoring.

Hurst was not among the Raiders fined for being photographed without masks at Darren Waller‘s fundraiser, but the third-year defensive lineman did play 35 snaps against the Bills. Hurst was not at the fundraiser, according to The Athletic’s Tashan Reed (on Twitter). But the prospect of Hurst playing last week while carrying the virus would present a major issue, though it is not yet known if he has tested positive.

Hurst, 25, also dropped in the draft due to a heart condition. That has not, however, impeded him as a pro. The former fifth-round pick has missed just three games since being drafted. A second-generation NFLer, Hurst has played 42% of Las Vegas’ defensive snaps this season. At present, he is the only player on the Raiders’ COVID list.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Rumors: Switzer, DL, Kickers

While Jon Gruden‘s yet to bestow much praise upon Martavis Bryant, the Raiders’ other wide receiver trade acquisition has impressed the new coach. It’s looking like the former Cowboys draft choice will have a role in the passing game, and Ryan Switzer certainly will contribute on special teams. Switzer returned seven punts for touchdowns while at North Carolina, including five his freshman year. He returned a punt for a score last season as a rookie.

He’s a guy that can change the game, I think, on third down. He’s a tough matchup,” Gruden said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “He’s quick. He has vertical speed. He has special teams ability. … I love Switzer. I think he’s one of the best punt returners of college football, perhaps the history of college football. He’s as good as I saw.”

Seth Roberts has served as the Raiders’ top slot option for the better part of the past three seasons for a team that hasn’t featured much depth at the position. Switzer, if nothing else, may supply that.

Here’s the latest out of Oakland.

  • It’s not finalized the Raiders will play the 2019 season in Oakland, but they will remain in Napa, Calif., for training camp next year. It could be their last one in northern California, however. In 2020, Reno has emerged as the favorite, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes. Reno officials visited Raiders camp this weekend, Gehlken reports, and Las Vegas has been ruled out as a camp site. The Raiders hope to play the 2019 season in Oakland, and while 2020 represents the franchise’s relocation goal, a firm departure date hasn’t been established.
  • Giorgio Tavecchio‘s kicking foot looks to have played a key part in his Raiders downfall. Holder Johnny Townsend had to switch sides when the Silver and Black alternated reps between last year’s kicker (Tavecchio, who is left-footed) and rookie UDFA Eddy Pineiro, and Gruden was tired of that continuing to be required, he said today (via Tafur). Gruden added that Pineiro has kicked well in camp and that he views Mike Nugent as a legitimate option, rather than a mere mentor.
  • The Raiders have not been able to supplement Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin with much in the way of complementary pass rushers the past two seasons, but a growing belief exists among Raiders coaches and scouts their rookie contingent of defensive linemen — P.J. Hall, Arden Key and Maurice Hurst — can be early contributors, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. The team has injury-prone defensive end Mario Edwards entering a contract year and fifth-year nose tackle Justin Ellis back. And the Raiders signed Tank Carradine in March. Eddie Vanderdoes enters his second season after being a primary starter as a rookie, but he’s coming off an ACL tear. The team looks to have a deeper pool of options up front.
  • The Raiders are also making some history on their strength and conditioning staff. Kelsey Martinez is signed on to work as an assistant strength assistant, Gehlken writes. The 26-year-old becomes the franchise’s first woman to work in this department. Martinez worked under new Raiders strength boss Tom Shaw at the Tom Shaw Performance facility in Orlando, Fla., the past four years.

Draft Signings: Patriots, Ravens, Raiders

Here’s a look at today’s non-first round draft signings:

  • The Patriots signed second-round cornerback Duke Dawson. The Pats moved around quite a bit on draft weekend, including a trade up fro No. 63 to No. 56 to select Dawson. As shown on Roster Resource, the Florida product figures to be one of the team’s primary backups to starters Jonathan Jones and Stephon Gilmore, along with veteran Jason McCourty. Dawson’s deal is worth $4.7MM over four years, as dictated by his draft slot.
  • The Ravens signed third-round tackle Orlando Brown. Per the terms of his slot, Brown will receive a four-year, $3.491MM deal. Tight end Mark Andrews, who was Brown’s teammate at Oklahoma and also selected in the third round, has also inked his deal. As of this writing, the Ravens have just two unsigned picks in first round selections Hayden Hurst and Lamar Jackson.
  • The Raiders signed two draft picks today: Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (fifth round) and Oklahoma State wide receiver Marcell Ateman (seventh). Five of their nine picks now under contract, as shown on PFR’s tracker. From a talent perspective, Hurst was viewed as one of the top interior defensive linemen in the draft, but heart issues caused him to fall. The Michigan product will join fellow rookie Arden Key on the defensive line, giving the Raiders a double dose of young boom-or-bust talent.

Draft Notes: Panthers, Penny, Impact Rooks

With their first-round pick, the Panthers ended up selecting Maryland wideout D.J. Moore. However, General Manager Marty Hurney told SiriusXM’s Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn that his team was considering several players with the pick, including Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley.

“Basically what we did, coming into the draft, we had a group of about five guys that we would be very happy with at 24 and we got our pick and three of those guys were there and it was a hard decision between Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore,” Hurney said. “I think that the difference to us is, and we think they’re both excellent wide receivers, is just D.J. Moore gives us a little different skill set than we had.”

Let’s check out some more draft notes from around the league…

  • Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller touched on a number of topics during his post-draft review. Notably, the reporter noted that the most surprising first-round selection was San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny, who was taken by the Seahawks with the 27th pick. Miller notes that opposing teams didn’t value Penny as highly, and the reporter said the highest team grade (outside of Seattle) rated the running back as a second-rounder.
  • Miller reports that several players failed drug tests, causing them to fall in the draft or go undrafted. This grouping included cornerback Holton Hill, offensive tackle Desmond Harrison, and wideout Antonio Callaway.
  • ESPN’s Mel Kiper looked at several late-round rookies who could immediately make an impact with their new squad. Offensively, Kiper pointed to Patriots wideout Braxton Berrios, Colts running backs Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, and Steelers “Swiss Army knife” Jaylen Samuels. Defensively, Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, Eagles pass rusher Josh Sweat, Rams linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo led Kiper’s list.

Bay Area Notes: Johnson, Hurst, Miller, DBs

It sounds like Jon Gruden and Derrick Johnson hit it off in a one-on-one meeting, which led to the Raiders signing the 14th-year linebacker earlier on Friday. Johnson’s deal is a one-year agreement, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports, adding that it’s worth up to $3MM. Gruden looks to have been a Johnson fan for a while during his years as ESPN’s Monday Night Football analyst, and that intel may have played a key role in the 35-year-old off-ball ‘backer landing with Oakland.

I’m one of Gruden’s favorite players — he’s always had a soft spot for me,” Johnson said, via Paylor. “He’s always said that over the years. I’m not playing for a rebuilding-type year. I sensed an urgency from Coach Gruden that winning is important right now.”

The Chiefs’ all-time leading tackler, Johnson has not played in a 4-3 defense since the 2008 season. Prior to the Chiefs switching to the 3-4 look in 2009, Johnson worked as an outside linebacker with Kansas City during his first four seasons. The Raiders signed Tahir Whitehead as well. He, Bruce Irvin and Johnson could be the Raiders’ three linebacker starters, despite Johnson telling Paylor he’s not quite the same player he was since the second of his severe Achilles injuries shut him down late in the 2016 season.

Here’s the latest out of the Bay Area:

  • Gruden, though, did not rule out a NaVorro Bowman reunion (Twitter link via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area). Bowman is nearly six years younger than Johnson but also carries injury baggage. However, Bowman graded as Oakland’s best linebacker by a wide margin last season. The Raiders have maintained they’re still interested in Bowman throughout the offseason, but they’ve now added four linebackers — with Emmanuel Lamur and Kyle Wilber coming to California as well — since Bowman became a free agent.
  • The Raiders began their rookie minicamp with Kolton Miller working at left tackle, where he’ll likely be Donald Penn‘s backup. Gruden confirmed the team’s first-round pick will start his career there, per NFL.com’s James Palmer (on Twitter), despite the team being in need of an immediate right tackle starter. Third-round pick Brandon Parker will work at that position.
  • Maurice Hurst Jr.‘s been cleared for workouts and participated in the first day of the Raiders’ minicamp. Gruden said (via Bair, on Twitter) the team doesn’t have any reservations about the Michigan product, whose heart issues played a major role in him sliding into the fifth round. Gruden believes the Raiders landed the top two interior pass rushers in the draft in Hurst and second-round pick P.J. Hall, per Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (via Twitter).
  • The 49ers plan to move third-round pick Tarvarius Moore from cornerback to safety, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes. The Southern Mississippi alum ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at his pro day, and his 6-foot-2 frame also makes John Lynch believe he could stick at corner. Interestingly, 5-9 safety D.J. Reed — an outside corner at Kansas State — will compete with K’Waun Williams for the slot job, per Barrows, but also practice at safety. San Francisco’s brass is clearly unafraid to shuttle its defensive backs around, having Jimmie Ward ready to potentially switch positions for the fourth straight offseason.
  • Would-be third-year DB Dexter McCoil broke a bone in his foot training independently, leading the 49ers to waive him with an NFI distinction, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. A 16-game Charger participant in 2016 and having played eight games with the 49ers last season, McCoil is facing a four- to six-week recovery period, per Maiocco.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders

Despite visiting with each of this draft’s top four quarterbacks and being consistently rumored to have a couple of them on their radar, the Broncos did not select one throughout the draft. And they aren’t planning on bringing another one in before training camp. John Elway said Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly will compete for the backup job behind Case Keenum, per Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com. This is an interesting approach considering both players are coming off injury-marred years. Lynch will be the only active-roster Broncos QB returning since the team let Brock Osweiler depart in free agency and traded Trevor Siemian. Denver is evidently set at the game’s marquee position, putting faith in Keenum.

Here’s the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Raiders had a busy weekend, making multiple trades for veteran players and taking multiple high-ceiling, low-floor defenders. But they did not invest big in off-ball linebackers, and Reggie McKenzie said (via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com) a NaVorro Bowman acquisition remains on the table. This has been the GM’s party line for a bit now, but it’s notable that stance remains after the Raiders brought in Tahir Whitehead to start and multiple other veteran backups. Bowman started for the Raiders most of last season and was by far their top-graded linebacker, in the opinion of Pro Football Focus.
  • In selecting a player with possible first-round talent in the fifth, the Raiders may have a steal in Maurice Hurst Jr. But the Michigan-developed defensive tackle will be subject to annual heart evaluations after the issue that caused his stock to slip. However, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes (via Twitter) the Raiders do not view this as a flier or year-to-year proposition. Hurst was cleared going into the draft after being flagged for a heart problem at the Combine, but it’s clear all 32 teams were not in agreement on Hurst being a safe bet.
  • Each of the Chiefs‘ six draft picks went to addressing their defense, which ranked 30th in DVOA last season. But Louis Riddick of ESPN reported during the draft sixth-round pick Kahlil McKenzie — Reggie’s son — will begin his career at guard despite playing defensive tackle at Tennessee. The Chiefs lost Bennie Logan this offseason but drafted Derrick Nnadi out of Florida State to potentially move into that role. Kahlil McKenzie, then, will attempt to carve out a spot on the offensive line.