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Saturday open thread: Should the Detroit Lions draft Maurice Hurst?

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Would you be okay if the Lions draft the local defensive tackle?

Colorado v Michigan Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

With Michigan’s Pro Day coming to an end on Friday, one of the bigger questions of the NFL Draft is where will defensive tackle Maurice Hurst go. After his medical scare at the NFL Combine, in which a heart condition was identified and he was dismissed from participating in the drills, there was concern he could not only fall out of the first round, but much, much further.

Friday, Hurst put a lot of those worries to bed. Not only was he cleared to participate in all football drills, but he performed quite well:

(Note: Michigan’s Pro Day numbers have a reputation of being very favorable to the their own prospects.)

However, despite the performance and the medical clearance, I see many Detroit Lions fans concerned over the idea that the team may take Hurst with the 20th overall selection.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Would you be happy if the Lions drafted Maurice Hurst in the first round?

My answer: Obviously, it would depend on who has been drafted, but let’s play along. Here’s the scenario: you fall asleep right now and wake up after the draft is over. You go up to the first Lions fan you see and ask them who the team drafted in the first round. When they tell you “Maurice Hurst” what would be your immediate, visceral reaction?

For me, it would be excitement. The Lions have been missing a pass rusher from the inside for the longest time, and it’s exactly what Hurst specializes in. He was a thrill to watch for three years at Michigan, and he was the kind of player that you couldn’t help but focus on during each play, because you didn’t want to miss out on something amazing.

Though he may not be ideal in 3-4 looks, his disruptive abilities and fantastic athleticism would be welcome on a Detroit defensive line that has missed those qualities for far too long.

And when it comes to the medical situation, I’m just not all that worried. I know we’re all a little on edge, especially after we saw what appears to be a similar situation likely claim the career of former Lion Nick Fairley. However, this is something that Hurst has dealt with once before and it was quickly dismissed then, too. Here’s Hurst explaining what happened at the NFL Combine (via the Detroit Free Press):

“I knew about it here so I was a little surprised that they held me out, but I was excited I was able to do everything at pro day,” Hurst said. “I think it was just the fact that I had not had any testing done recently. Just a lot of times, the combine will play it safe. That’s what they did.”

As I’ve mentioned several times before, this is very similar to what happened to NFL defensive stud Star Lotulelei, who was also held out of the NFL Combine due to a heart condition, but ended up getting drafted in the top half of the first round of the NFL Draft. As it turns out, that may be the exact same medical condition that Hurst is dealing with.

From the same Freep article above:

A high-ranking NFL executive said Hurst has “the same issue” that dropped Star Lotulelei from a potential top-five pick to No. 14 overall in the 2013 draft.

Lotulelei has now played in the NFL for five season without incident. In fact, he’s started 75 of 80 possible games since entering the league (and none of the games missed had anything to do with his heart).

I have very little medical concern about drafting Hurst at this point. To me, it’s all about his talent. There are definitely real concerns about how he’ll translate to the NFL. He’s currently a bit smaller for the prototypical NFL defensive tackle, and he’ll need to be a little more disciplined in defending the run. But this kind of dynamic pass rusher would look awfully nice in Honolulu Blue. So if he gets called by Detroit on draft day, I’m all in.

Your turn.


Would you be happy if the Lions drafted Maurice Hurst in the first round?

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