Maurice Hurt was supposed to spend the 2011 season on the practice squad, honing his ability and learning the NFL game so that he could challenge for a backup tackle spot in 2012. If he couldn't make it, another year on the practice squad may have been in the cards for the 2011 seventh-round draft pick.
As they said in the old insurance commercials, life comes at you fast. After some injuries along the line, Hurt went from being a practice squad tackle to a starting left guard in a three-week period.
For a seventh-round draft pick who made such a fast transition, Hurt didn’t play badly. But not completely embarrassing yourself is not a very high bar.
It would seem that the coaching staff was not completely enamored with his performance. They drafted one player at his old position, sixth-round tackle Tom Compton. And they took two players at his new position, drafting guards Josh LeRibeus in the third round and Adam Gettis in the fifth.
Further putting a squeeze on Hurt is the fact that LeRibeus played center during the team’s recent rookie minicamp and Gettis could be flexible along the interior line as well.
Mike Shanahan likes players who can play in multiple positions. “Anybody that comes in, if you dress seven guys or eight guys, that whoever that six is you’ve got to play center and guard and you have to play it well,” he said of LeRibeus lining up at center. “So that is a big plus.”
The flip side of that is that being able to play only one position would be a big minus. The Redskins have Hurt listed as a guard on their roster. Can he master the tackle position and still be able to contribute at guard?
He could be on the practice squad as he was on the 45-man roster for eight games, the maximum number of games a player can be active and maintain eligibility for the PS. But that would be quite a step down.
Hurt will be up against a numbers game. He’ll be competing against the three draft picks, free agent signee James Lee, and holdovers Erik Cook, Tyler Polumbus, and Willie Smith for four or five spots. The more Hurt can do, the better his chances sticking will be.