Former Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, initially projected as a first- or second-round talent in this year’s NFL draft, ended up falling to the final day last week, when the Raiders picked him up in the fifth round. Hurst’s drop came after he was diagnosed with a previously undisclosed heart condition at the NFL combine, and while he was later cleared to participate in Michigan’s pro day, it’s obvious that plenty of NFL teams didn’t trust that he was entirely healthy. Now, they seem to be worried about what might happen if Hurst sees the field with the Raiders.
I spoke to over 10 scouts, coaches and executives regarding Hurst. One, in a heated rant, labeled the selection “irresponsible” by the Raiders because of Hurst’s heart condition (which hasn’t been publicly shared) and hoped the talented defender would “never put a f—king helmet on again in his life.”
That sentiment was echoed many times over, with one head coach adding, “Only the Raiders would draft a guy who could literally die on the field from a known condition.”
Hurst himself seems fine with the diagnosis, and said that he first learned of it back during his first season at Michigan, where he went on to play for four years. He’s declined to publicly discuss the details of his condition, but multiple reports have linked his issue to the one that affected Star Lotulelei in 2013. Lotulelei was diagnosed with a heart condition at the combine, but showed normalcy in follow-up tests and continues to play in the NFL.