ESPN’s Kiper: UM’s Maurice Hurst a ‘borderline’ first-round pick

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan All-American defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, cleared medically to continue to play football after an irregular EKG prevented him from participating in the NFL combine, is projected as a “borderline” first-round selection by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper.

Kiper, who released his Mock Draft 3.0 on Wednesday, does not have Hurst in the first round but said that could change before the NFL Draft in late April.

Hurst, voted the Wolverines’ MVP and top defensive lineman last season, said he can’t speak publicly about his diagnosis, but he did undergo testing at Michigan and Harvard in the two weeks following the combine. He participated in Pro Day at Michigan last Friday.

“He gets back into the discussion for the first (round),” Kiper said Wednesday during a conference call. “It’s up to the individual teams to assess him. (They) have their own doctors and their opinions. He played like a borderline first round — if you take everything medically out of it — I think he played like a late one, early to mid-two.

“At least that’s how he projects into the NFL, depends on your system. If you want a 3-technique upfield explosive guy, then you would look at Maurice Hurst. I think it depends on the scheme. He doesn’t fit everybody. I didn’t put him in the first round in the last mock, but we’ll see moving forward. Still have the Mock 4.0 next week and then the fifth mock right before the draft. I’d say borderline first depending upon team to team how they view it.”

Hurst was upbeat about his pro future after he completed his Pro Day workout.

“I knew everything was going to be fine,” Hurst said last Friday. “I think (teams will) view me exactly the same as before. If you’re cleared, you’re cleared. It’s not really anything to look back on.”

Michigan offensive lineman Mason Cole, who started three seasons at left tackle, including last fall, and started at his preferred position, center, during the 2016 season, will play center in the NFL, Kiper said.

He projects Cole being drafted anywhere from the third to fifth rounds.

Ahead of Cole, according to Kiper’s analysis, are James Daniels from Iowa, Billy Price from Ohio State and Frank Ragnow from Arkansas.

“They’re going to go very early,” he said. “Daniels is probably going to go first round. Price if it wasn’t for the torn pectoral, he’d be a one, now going to be a two, Ragnow will be a two, three.”

Kiper said Cole would be in the next group of centers.