September 15, 2012; Louisville, KY USA; North Carolina Tar Heels guard Jonathan Cooper (64) and offensive tackle James Hurst (68) line up against the Louisville Cardinals during the second half of play at Papa John

Miami Dolphins Scout's Take: UNC OT James Hurst

This week for Scout’s Take, we are continuing our look at potential offensive tackles the Miami Dolphins may select in May’s NFL Draft.

UNC’s James Hurst is one of the better fits for Miami’s offensive scheme, and will likely be a second to third round selection depending on the status of his recently broken leg.

 

Let’s take a closer look at the UNC Senior:

 

Oct 13, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; North Carolina Tar Heels offensive tackle James Hurst (68) during a game against the Miami Hurricanes at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Name: James Hurst

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 305 lbs.

School: University of North Carolina

Class: Senior

Draft Stock: Falling due to broken leg in Belk Bowl

Draft Range: Mid-second to Mid-third (could be even lower depending on the status of his leg)

Strengths:

The obvious here is Hurst’s size and athletic ability. He is a 6’7” 305 pound monster who can move well for a man of his size and stature. Not to mention, he hails from a school that runs a zone-blocking scheme offense – which is exactly what Miami would like to utilize.

Secondly, Hurst is a very good run blocker. Offensive linemen love to bash heads with defenders and get rough. Hurst looks like one of those throw-back offensive linemen who just want to beat the hell out of you. Once he makes contact with an assignment he quickly uses his hands to punch and drive.

James Hurst is a very athletic man for a football player of his size, and he pulls very well for a tackle. North Carolina uses quick screens and dump-offs to get their offensive linemen out in front of their backs/receivers. Hurst is a text-book pulling offensive tackle.

Lastly, he is solid in pass protection. He’s not phenomenal by any means – we’ll get to that below – but he does possess the skills to become a great offensive tackle in pass pro. He is tall, lanky, and moves well for a big man.

 

Weaknesses:

James Hurst’s leg injury was so gruesome that ESPN was unwilling to show the replay of what happened during the broadcast of the Belk Bowl. We can assume here, his leg injury was fairly significant. His biggest weakness right now is facing this question; how soon will you be healthy? He’s going to hear this question from every team he interviews with leading up to the draft. For his sake, hopefully he’s ready to go by training camp.

Outside of Hurst’s leg injury, his biggest weakness is his technique and footwork. He’s very slopping in these areas. He rises out of his stance in a funky fashion; he chases rushers instead of mirroring them; he doesn’t use his long-ass arms to his advantage; I could really go on for days. The good news for teams and Hurst is that these are all coachable flaws.

Hurst is a 6’7” monster and he sure as hell plays like it. Well, not the monster part at times. He needs to play lower. If I was taught anything during my high school football years it’s that the lowest man always wins. Hurst needs to bend better at the hips to sink a bit lower and play with power.

James Hurst could end up making a NFL team very, very happy that they take a chance on him. That being said, it all depends on the status of his leg injury. If he will not be ready by training camp, he may end up falling quite low (Possibly a third day pick? Dare I say it???).

Hurst would be an excellent fit in Miami at either tackle position, which is an issue I am having with Hurst. Is he a left tackle? Or is he a right tackle? I think what it all boils down to is whether or not Miami’s new GM – still undecided apparently – can find a true left tackle to protect Ryan Tannehill’s blind-side. If the new GM can indeed find a LT, I would love to see Miami take Hurst in the third round and stick him at right tackle.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Draft James Hurst Miami Dolphins North Carolina Tarheels

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