The New York Jets will be closely monitoring the waiver wire to find some hidden gems ahead of the 2022 season.
One player is expected to shake free which could make a tremendous impact on the green and white.
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A Name to Circle
Nick Wagoner covers the San Francisco 49ers for ESPN and he was recently responsible for predicting the final 53-man roster in June.
In his prognostications, he had one very interesting player just missing the cut in defensive tackle Maurice Hurst.
Wagoner called the battle on the interior something “to watch” and listed Hurst as one of the competitors for those final spots.
The 27-year-old originally entered the league back in 2018 as the No. 140 overall pick in the fifth round. Although he was projected to go much higher with some saying he was a “first round” kind of player in that class but a heart issue discovered at the NFL combine scared a few teams off.
In the NFL that has proven to be a non-issue thankfully and Hurst has developed into quite the player:
- Eight sacks
- Nine tackles for loss
- 78 total tackles
The talented former Michigan standout spent the first three years of his career with the Las Vegas Raiders and then spent last season with the 49ers.
Truly Fits What Gang Green Is Searching For
Coming out of college, Hurst was heralded as a “disruptive penetrator” but his ability in run defense certainly stands out as well.
In limited action last season, Hurst finished with a career-high 75.2 PFF grade against the run.
Although the larger sample size reveals an affinity for sacking the opposing quarterback via Pro Football Focus:
- 78.5 grade
- 77.8 grade
- 65.5 grade
The Jets lost Foley Fatukasi this offseason and Hurst wouldn’t be a one-for-one tradeoff. Hurst is only 6-foot-2, 291 pounds versus Fatukasi who stands in at 6-foot-4 and weighs 318 pounds.
However, he would provide a lighter option to mix in with what the Jets already have.
We know Gang Green is going to add a defensive tackle, it isn’t a matter of if but rather when.
They kicked the tires on Larry Ogunjobi and had a ton of interest, but that didn’t come to fruition. The Jets had similar flirtations during the free agency period with a variety of players but both of those deals never came to terms either.
That is a lot of sniffing around for a positional group that appears fairly deep on paper. You don’t do that level of digging if you aren’t interested in adding a body.
The 49ers model normally keeps somewhere between 10 and 11 defensive linemen on the final 53-man roster. That’s a good case study for what the Jets will do in 2022 under Robert Saleh’s direction.