ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders finished the NFL draft by taking another risk, although this one could come with an extremely high payoff.
The Raiders traded up in the fifth round on Saturday to take talented Michigan pass rusher Maurice Hurst, who fell from a projected first-round pick to off some draft boards because of concerns from a heart condition that got him sent home from the combine.
“It’s money,” Hurst said. “Just upset and disappointed in teams that decided not to pick me. But one got a great player for very little. So I’m very excited to be part of the Raiders organization.”
The Raiders traded the 159th and 185th picks to Indianapolis for the 140th pick on Saturday and used it to take a player who might have gone in the first round had he not had health concerns.
Hurst was an All-American and one of the most productive defensive players in the country last season. He had 5½ sacks as an interior rusher and led all nose tackles and defensive tackles with 49 total quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
But he got sent home from the combine after a heart issue was detected. Hurst said it was something he has dealt with for a long time and hadn’t impacted him on the field. He said he has been cleared by doctors at Harvard and Michigan but that didn’t prevent his fall.
“It’s tough just going into it thinking that you’re one of the top players in the draft and having good tape and everything like that,” he said. “Just having to wait and see guys that you believe that you’re better than go ahead of you, I mean it’s tough. But I’m just happy to be in the right place and part of a great organization.”
The move for Hurst was one of several this weekend when the Raiders made high-risk, high-reward moves. They dealt a third-round pick to Pittsburgh on Thursday for talented receiver Martavis Bryant, who has been suspended twice for substance abuse issues.
Oakland then traded up in the third round Friday to take LSU pass rusher Arden Key, who was viewed as a first-round talent but spent time in drug rehabilitation in college.
The Raiders also used two picks on Friday for FCS players whom they believe have the upside to thrive in the NFL in defensive lineman P.J. Hall from Sam Houston State and offensive tackle Brandon Parker of North Carolina A&T.