More depth. A possible Kevin Givens replacement?
It’s been nearly a month since San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Kevin Givens faced an assault charge. Who knows what his future status is with the team. We might have a better understanding of where Givens stands as the Niners signed former Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst Jr., per himself:
49ers Let’s Go to Work!! This defense is about to go crazy!! Time to eat!
— Maurice Hurst Jr (@mohurstjr) April 22, 2021
ESPN’s Field Yates confirmed the signing.
If Arden Key is a depth signing, Hurst, who turns 26 next month, could be a diamond in the rough. He’s been productive with the Raiders, despite low sack totals. Hurst was a draft darling in 2018 before sliding to the fifth round after concerns rose from a heart condition.
We’re not talking about a typical fifth-round talent. Hurst’s best season came in 2019 if we’re using Sports Info Solutions total points saved metric. In 477 snaps, Hurst saved 21 points for the Raiders. He had 21 hurries, and 18 QB hits with an average depth of tackle at 1.8.
To put 21 points into context, Airk Armstead saved 18 points in 2020. Javon Kinlaw and Givens saved 15 apiece. Hurst is a penetrating, get upfield, and cause chaos type of 3-technique, which is precisely what the 49ers are looking for. They need someone who is disruptive up the middle.
Coming out of the draft, I loved how disruptive Hurst was:
Someone asked me if there’s a DT I’d take in the 1st. This is the one.
Here’s 2 min of Maurice Hurst & essentially every play he made or impacted in the backfield last year. pic.twitter.com/MJf6v9J3IA
— KP (@KP_Show) April 16, 2018
There are plenty of clips in the NFL of Hurst showing him beating a guard and hitting the QB. He did it against Tom Brady. Against the Bills, he had a play that was impressive where he beat the guard from up the middle and instantly was in the backfield.
Now, Hurst gets a chance to work with one of the best defensive line coaches in the league. This is another low-risk, medium-to-high reward for the Niners. Between Hurst and Zach Kerr, the 49ers are now athletic and quick up the middle, and have defensive tackles who are interchangeable.