Over the offseason, the Raiders decided to try to upgrade their interior defensive line. They took a chance on Maliek Collins, signing the former Dallas Cowboy to a one-year deal. Unfortunately, that move hasn’t panned out as they had hoped as he is currently one of the worst defensive tackles in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
Sure, it is possible that Collins finds his rhythm over the next month or so and starts to become the player that we were accustomed to seeing in Dallas. However, the Raiders should strongly consider making a switch now before it’s too late.
Luckily, the Raiders have another strong option behind Collins; third-year defensive tackle Maurice Hurst. Despite playing fewer snaps than Collins, Hurst has been the far better player this season. Not only does he have more sacks, pressures, and quarterback hits than Collins, Hurst is currently Pro Football Focus’ fourth-highest rated interior defender in the NFL.
While he doesn’t have gaudy sack totals to start the season, Hurst has been living in the backfield. We know what kind of potential he has in the NFL after two strong seasons to start his career. But for whatever reason, the Raiders have yet o fully embrace Hurst as their full-time three-technique.
With Hurst being under contract longer than Collins and out-performing him so far, there is no reason for the team not to start him. If nothing else, the Raiders should consider cutting back some of Collins’ snaps and giving them to Hurst as the former Nebraska Cornhusker has been awful as a run defender.
The Raiders will take on the Chiefs in Week 5 and they will need to create a pass-rush with their front four to have any hope of slowing down Patrick Mahomes. At this point in the season, Hurst is a better bet to create that pressure. Look for the team to get him more involved after a solid start to the season.