Surprise? Mo Hurst and P.J. Hall are PFF’s Highest-Graded Raiders on Defense

The Raiders certainly have a lot of holes to fill on defense in the offseason, but lost in a difficult year for defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, the Raiders have quietly developed one of the better young interior defensive lines in the league.

Everyone knows about Maxx Crosby, but somewhat surprisingly, the two highest-graded defensive players on the team this year, according to Pro Football Focus, were defensive tackles Mo Hurst and P.J. Hall. Hurst didn’t light up the stat sheet in sacks (3.5), but he consistently won in the trenches in 2020 and was one of the best defensive tackles in the league at beating double teams.

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As promised here are the Interior Defenders with the highest win-rates in 2109 when facing 2+ blockers:

Hall is one of the strongest players on the team and flashed more against the run than versus the pass in 2019. He should only improve as he wasn’t considered a defensive tackle by several teams coming out of college. So he is still learning the position. After his rookie year, some didn’t even think Hall would make the team in this year, but he finished with more defensive snaps this season than Hurst – and only Johnathan Hankins saw more snaps at defensive tackle this year for the Raiders than Hall.

Hurst and Hall don’t get a lot of attention without the big numbers, but both are only 24 and still have two years remaining on their rookie contracts. Hall was drafted in the second round and Hurst was projected to be a first-round pick before the league was made aware of his longstanding heart condition, so expectations have been high for both players. Despite not having their names called as often as other defensive tackles around the league, it’s notable that Hall and Hurst are still two of the better players on the Raider defense. If nothing else, general manager Mike Mayock can feel good about the position group going forward.

Hopefully, another year in Guenther’s system will allow both players to make a name for themselves on the national level… and, of course, their potential contract years are both coming up, too.

twitter: @raidersbeat


9 thoughts on “Surprise? Mo Hurst and P.J. Hall are PFF’s Highest-Graded Raiders on Defense

  1. Indeed Hall was better as a defensive end in college. I thought it was a mistake moving him to DT in his senior year. Why Guenther continued that I’ll never understand. He had outstanding numbers as a DE.

    1. Guenther plays many people out of position. I am not a fan of his at all. Even when he had good defenses in Cincinnati, they were not number one or number two defenses. Just top ten.

  2. Souds like just great things i dream raiders rocking the world peace black hole baby for life g money

  3. Two years left on their rookie contract, this is why building through the draft is the way to go. Trade down for picks!

  4. Normally numbers don’t lie, neither do my eyes. The Raiders were blown off the line of scrimmage by opposing offensive lineman too many times to recall just one. Our front seven stinks! There are bright spots, but before we can truly be a legit contender we need to be the ones knocking lines off the ball. When we had Navrro Biwman for one year, he filled open wholes like a linebacker should, can we find a talent that can do a basic element of that position?

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