Surprisingly, showcases some natural coordination when asked to pull and get out into space. Lacks great range, but has the body control to break down on contact, reach his target and eliminate defenders from run lanes. Has a decent first step off the snap as an in-line guy and can play with his hand on the ground and create a push off the ball. Is a better athlete in tight areas where he can use his first step and power to seal interior defenders from the run game and finish blocks inside. Works hard through contact and loves to finish blocks. However, doesn’t look real comfortable on slide down blocks and tends to fall off opposing linemen far too quickly down the line.
Impression: Showcases some natural power and coordination as a run blocker and can win at the point of attack. However, he’s going to need to learn to play with better leverage in order to have a chance of holding up inside in the pass game at the next level. If he can do that, I think he has a chance to mature into a starter. If not, he’s going to have a tough time ever seeing the field in the NFL. "
As a redshirt freshman in 2007, Hurd played in every game as a backup and special teams player. He entered the starting lineup at right guard in 2008 and helped pave the way for Donald Brown to lead the country in rushing with 2,083 yards. As a junior he was First Team All-Big East and started every game that season, this time at left guard.
Hurd is a talented drive blocker who also owns surprising athleticism. He will most likely be drafted in the mid-to-later rounds of the draft, however, because of his occasional lack of awareness and tendency to play out of control. Some NFL offensive line coaches will try to convince the team's general manager that they can improve his instincts, giving him a chance to become a long-time starter for them.
Positives: Has good athleticism and quick feet for his size. Uses his bulk and strength to create lanes as a run blocker. Gets under the pads of defenders and drives them out of the play. Sustains his blocks once he gets leverage on the defender. Kicks out and seal the edge and gets out to pull despite his hulking frame. Engulfs undersized linebackers. Has a strong upper body and uses his arms to sustain blocks in pass protection. Has good balance and recovers well when getting knocked backwards. Shows the ability to cut block. Knocks players to the ground when coming with a full head of steam. Has a quick first step off the snap. Explodes off the line and keeps his pad level low. Prevents quick penetration on running plays. Gets to the second level quickly. Works his way outside and squares up nicely on outside linebackers and cornerbacks.
Negatives: Lacks football instincts, often hitting the wrong target or seeming unsure whom to block. Looks uncomfortable as a pass blocker and tries to attack defenders with his body instead of keeping his balance and engaging them. Tends to catch the defender in pass protection instead of making the first contact. Doesn't keep his legs running when engaged. Fails to stay square at times and can be shed by defenders. Tends to lead with his shoulder rather than engage linemen with his hands. Gets lazy at times and prefers not to block downfield if the play isn't directly in his area. Doesn't take great angles and can fail to keep the defender in front of him."
Positive: Massive blocker who is well thought of in scouting circles. Works his hands throughout the action, displays terrific jolt at the point of attack, and blocks with a nasty attitude. Stays square, attacks assignments, and is large enough to engulf defenders. Quick in his head, picks up stunts or twists, and works well with teammates. Displays a degree of quickness in his game and the ability to drive opponents off the line of scrimmage.
Negative: Lumbers about the field and possesses marginal skills blocking in motion. Overextends into blocks and gets a bit straight legged. Struggles sliding in pass protection and lacks fluid footwork.
Analysis: Hurd has been a terrific blocker on the college level and possesses NFL type size and strength. He does not display the athleticism necessary to be used in a zone blocking system yet will be very effective for a team that reduces his area assignments and asks him to go straight ahead."
Negatives: Not a natural bender, too rangy (built more like a Tackle than Guard)... Plays too upright... Struggles to get and maintain leverage... Can be beat by speed... Marginal lateral range... Doesn't move his feet especially well... Will reach and lean to make contact."
In 2008 Brown rushed for over 2,000 yards. In 2009 Todman and Dixon each ran for over 1,000 yards, and in 2010 Todman has already eclipsed the 1,000 yard plateau and should hit 1,500 very easily. Hurd has moved around on the line a bit, playing at both guard positions and that versatility is never a bad thing. For his efforts in 2009, Hurd was named to the First Team All-Big East squad and he should have plenty more accolades waiting for him at the conclusion of the 2010 campaign. At 6-7 and 325 pounds, Hurd has built his body to be a superb guard at the next level. Obviously his strength is run blocking and that is where he also has the most experience. He can have trouble in pass blocking against quicker defensive tackles and that is what will keep him in the mid-rounds.
Hurd and Connecticut are not done with 2010 campaign yet. Through ten games, the Huskies are in a position to earn a berth to a BCS Bowl. After starting out 3-4, UConn has consecutive victories over West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Syracuse. Those are the only other three teams with a winning record in conference play. The Huskies need some help, but getting to a BCS bowl will put Hurd on the national stage and possibly boost his stock."
Zach Hurd is too tall to be an effective Croucher at O Guard. He's got tremendous Power to Drive the Run Game, but his Strength to Anchor in the Pass Game is actually very weak, and while he has surprising Flanking Speed, his Lateral Agility is lacking.
Zach Hurd should've been an O Tackle in College, and I have to think that his best chance in the Pros is to make that same conversion. However, his lack of Lateral Agility is a concern in that regard. Put him at Right Tackle in a Linear Drive Blocking scheme, and you just might have something.
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