The Las Vegas Raiders shocked a lot of football fans and experts on Thursday when they released defensive tackle Maurice Hurst.
Hurst was drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Despite not having major expectations attached to him, Hurst went on to be a force for the Raiders on defense. He has 76 combined tackles, 8 sacks, a forced fumble and an interception in 40 NFL games. Hurst was also a top-15 defensive tackle last season when it came to the pass-rush, according to ProFootballFocus' grading system.
With that being said, here's a look at three likely destinations for Hurst in free agency.
3. Cincinnati Bengals
After cutting DT Geno Atkins earlier this offseason, the Cincinnati Bengals could use a replacement for him. Who better than Hurst? If it's a pass-rusher that the team wants, Hurst can deliver that to them. Aside from the 8 sacks in his career, Hurst also has 17 quarterback hits in three seasons. In general, the Bengals were awful at getting to opposing quarterbacks last season, so Hurst could help improve them in that department.
2. Detroit Lions
Hurst could help improve a Detroit Lions defense that recorded just 1.5 sacks per game in 2020 (T-26th). The team already tried to improve their defensive line by acquiring DT Michael Brockers from the Los Angeles Rams earlier this offseason, however, having both him and Hurst one defense could be scary for opposing teams. Hurst also played college football for the Michigan Wolverines, so signing with the Lions would be a something of a homecoming.
1. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are a couple of pieces away from being a real threat in the AFC, and they could use a guy like Hurst on defense. The team's defensive line already has DeForest Buckner at defensive tackle and Hurst would be a nice fit right beside him. They also have over $26 million in cap space, according to Spotrac, so Hurst could even make a decent chunk of money if the Colts like his potential.
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