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PFF names Maurice Hurst as most underrated 49er

The former Las Vegas Raider will provide some much needed depth on the defensive line.

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Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers have had a busy offseason. General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan signed several of their own free agents, including Trent Williams, Jaquiski Tartt, K’Waun Williams and Kyle Juszczyk.

Lynch and Shanahan went outside the building to add some talent as well. The Niners signed free agents Alex Mack, Samson Ebukam and Maurice Hurst, among others.

The 49ers still have enough cap space to add a veteran in free agency, but the roster looks like it is almost set for next season. Pro Football Focus named the most underrated player on each team and went with one of the new guys on the Niners.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: DI MAURICE HURST

After being inexplicably released by the Raiders, Hurst now gets to show the 49ers what a valuable player he can be as part of their defensive line rotation. Maurice Hurst may never have become a devastating NFL player, but he has been a consistently good pass-rusher, earning PFF pass-rushing grades of at least 77.0 over each of the last two seasons.

The Las Vegas Raiders surprisingly released Hurst this offseason. Hurst was picked in the fifth round of the 2018 draft and spent his first three seasons with the team. He racked up 76 total tackles, 8 sacks and 17 QB hits during his time with the Raiders. PFF gave Hurst the highest grade of any defensive player with Las Vegas last season. Hurst started a career-low three games in 2020 and finished with 27 tackles.

The Raiders were scolded for their decision to release Hurst by NFL analyst Matt Miller.

“One NFL pro personnel director text me after the Las Vegas Raiders released tackle Maurice Hurst to say: ‘In a historically bad DL class, why would you cut Maurice Hurst?’” Miller said. Needless to say, the Raiders’ front office is not highly respected by many others around the league.”

Hurst will be a part of the 49ers’ defensive line rotation. With Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead commanding extra attention, it should open things up for players like Hurst in the middle of the line.

Here is a look at the defensive lineman currently on San Francisco’s roster.

Edge: Bosa, Samson Ebukam, Jordan Willis, Alex Barrett.

Defensive end: Armstead, Dee Ford, Arden Key, Daeshon Hall.

Defensive tackle: Hurst, Javon Kinlaw, D.J. Jones, Zach Kerr, Kevin Givens, Kentavius Street, Darrion Daniels.

As we saw last season, you can never have enough depth in the trenches. Hurst is a low-risk signing that provides the Niners with another capable body on the defensive line. He is on a one-year deal worth $1.04 million.

The 26-year-old should get plenty of opportunities to show his stuff under new defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. The 49ers were successful in adding a veteran defensive lineman last season. Kerry Hyder Jr. led the team with 8.5 sacks, but wound up signing a deal with the Seattle Seahawks in free agency.

What are your expectations for Hurst next season? Which other Niner do you think is underrated going into next season?