Why Raiders infuriated NFL teams with one draft pick

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It’s not unusual for NFL teams to get upset with another team’s pick during the draft. But it usually means the angry team had its draft plan negatively affected by the player picked.

The Raiders reportedly infuriated some teams for an entirely different reason when they chose Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst in the fifth round last Saturday.

The talented Hurst was a consensus first-round draft pick but his draft stock plummeted when testing at the NFL Combine revealed a heart condition. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report talked with scouts, executives and coaches from more than 10 teams who seemed to feel Hurst’s condition would prevent him from playing in the NFL.

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One angry official from a team Miller spoke with told him the Raiders’ pick was “irresponsible,” and he felt it would be best for Hurst to “never put a (expletive) helmet on again in his life.”

The Raiders and Hurst, though, both agree he will be able to play in the NFL and he should excel after Oakland’s team doctors deemed him fit enough to play.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie told reporters this week the team will continue monitoring Hurst.
“He’s good,” McKenzie said. “He does have a heart condition, but it’s a situation that he’ll get checked every year. But right now, he’s good.”

Hurst, who plans to participate in the Raiders’ minicamp in Alameda on Friday, was dumbfounded he fell so far in the draft.

“I was a little surprised just because I was cleared through Harvard and Michigan, but every team can’t bring you in and do their own tests and formalize their own opinion,” Hurst said. “I’m just blessed to be a Raider.”

Hurst’s abnormal heart test results were reportedly similar to those that sent defensive lineman Star Lotulelei home from the 2013 NFL Combine. Lotulelei’s condition, though, was went through prior to the 2013 draft. Lotulelei’s results were attributed to a viral infection and he was the Carolina Panthers’ first-round pick.

While the Raiders’ test seem to indicate worries about Hurst’s health were overblown, at least one unnamed NFL coach remained concerned, saying, “Only the Raiders would draft a guy who could literally die on the field from a known condition.”

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