Hurd has good size and strength. He is able to deliver the blow as a run blocker and has decent pop. Is able to use his hands to get leverage and plays with good base. He is a good puller, hitting most of his assignments and does a good job delivering blow to linebacker on the edge or at the second level. Has a decent punch and is able to get extension in pass protection, showing good strength and ability to win most matchups in a short-area. Has very good mean streak and will get the flag for clearing piles, and does a good job finishing his blocks. Is able to recognize blitz, adjust in space, and chip the blitzer off the edge to buy his QB some more time.
Lacks good footwork and struggles when you force him to play in space and move laterally. Not the smoothest athlete when you ask him to pull and more effective because of his size. Doesn't play with consistently good pop. Comes out high as a blocker and makes him a less effective drive blocker. Blocks high in pass protection, allowing defenders to get under his pads. Needs to improve his hand placement and do a better job locking on when he's blocking straight-ahead. Will turn his shoulder into defender rather than using his hands at times. Struggles to lock on both in pass protection and as a run blocker. Whiffs on blocks at times and can get beat by a swim move.
Hurd is a big guard that was very effective at UConn, playing in a scheme and role similar to Harvey Dahl here in Atlanta. That is the player he reminds me of a lot, because like Dahl he isn't the most gifted athlete, but has good size and will win most of his matchups in a phone booth. He is an effective puller and run blocker, but not dominant in either. A three-year starter that logged 39 career starts, with 26 coming on the right side and 13 at left guard.
Hurd is a guy that doesn't wow you, but he has the intangibles, strength, and toughness to be an effective starting guard. He'll have to improve his technique, particularly learning how to use his hands better to get leverage and overcome his height. If he was 3 inches shorter, he'd probably be a much better guard because he would be able to get better leverage against defensive tackles. He'll work best in a man-heavy blocking scheme like Atlanta's, that will want him to pull on off-tackles and block straight-ahead. He's best in a phone booth and doesn't really have the athleticism to succeed in a zone-heavy scheme. He'll likely be a guy that doesn't really make his impact until several years down the line like Dahl as he polishes his game. He can be a solid reserve for the first two or three years of his career. Then if he develops some more he can start to push and potentially land a starting job. Like Dahl, he won't be a great starter, but capable of getting the job done. Playing beside a good, athletic right tackle will certainly help his chances.
Hurd can work in Atlanta and offers similar skillset to Dahl and Garrett Reynolds when it comes to playing guard. He is good enough to push Reynolds for his reserve spot, but probably not polished or skilled enough quite yet to unseat him. Instead he's probably a guy that will only make the roster if the Falcons get rid of either Dahl or Blalock, instead making the practice squad and be given a year or two to develop there. Then down the line he can push for a starting gig. He won't be a great starter in Atlanta, but a nice stopgap guy for a couple of years.
Hurd adds valuable depth and for a team looking for a nice developmental guard, he is worth a solid fifth or sixth round pick. But he probably shouldn't be taken higher than that due to his need for more development.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Blocking: 2.5
Run Blocking: 3.0
Mean Streak: 4.0
Scouting reports of the centers, guards, and tackles in the 2011 Draft.
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