OT JAMES HURST, NORTH CAROLINA

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6’7” – 305 lbs. – 5.30e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2010: 13 GP / 12 GS (LT)
2011: 13 GP / 13 GS (LT)
2012: 11 GP / 11 GS (LT)

OVERVIEW:

Has started at left tackle since the second game of his true freshman season, earning All-ACC Second Team honors as a sophomore as well as All-ACC First Team honors as a junior. Concluded his junior season having started 36 career games and is on pace to finish with nearly 50 starts.

STRENGTHS:

•    Will graduate with three years of starting experience at left tackle.
•    Very tall with a thick build, definietly projects to tackle rather than guard.
•    Was able to keep 2013 third-round pick Brennan Williams on the right.
•    Generally technically sound, particularly against power rushers.
•    Is well-versed in zone-blocking concepts despite lack of ideal athleticism.
•    Can drive players off the ball at times by attacking their shoulder.
•    High-effort player with active footwork, plays through the whistle.
•    Better than his athleticism would indicate in getting to the second level.
•    Surprisingly did a pretty good job against Jadeveon Clowney this year.

WEAKNESSES:

•    Has a controlled kickslide but has heavy feet, lacks great lateral agility.
•    Technique drops off when confronted with quality speed rushers.
•    Struggles with assignments against creative rushes (stunts, blitzes.)
•    Has some trouble squaring up and sustaining his blocks consistently.
•    May be better suited to an inline/man blocking scheme in the pros.
•    Lack of ideal athleticism will probably relegate him to the right side.

SUMMARY:

Hurst entered the season with an inflated first-round projection from many draft analysts, likely because of his size, polish, and extensive starting experience, but his lack of athleticism should prevent him from playing left tackle at the next level, except in a less-than-ideal situation. However, he could possibly start at right tackle, particularly for a team with an inline blocking scheme. Unfortunately, he hasn’t played there in college, but teams typically tend to favor shifting collegiate left tackles to other positions. Hurst should ultimately earn a draft slot ahead of Brennan Williams. RD 2-3

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