Sunday, February 13, 2011

Player Profile: Sam Hurd

Sam Hurd
Position: Wide Receiver
Size: 6'2, 205
Age: 25, 4/24/85
College: Northern Illinois
Drafted: Undrafted 2006
Experience: 5 Seasons

Salary History and Contract Status :Sam Hurd agreed to sign his tender for $1.759 in the 2010 season; Will be an unrestricted free agent in 2011.

2006 Draft Profile From Sam Hurd - Northern Illinois - 6'2 - 191 - 4.61 - Three-year starter and All-Conference selection as a senior after leading the team with career numbers of 65/1,074/13. Reliable wideout who consistently comes up with the important reception. Finds the open spot on the field or sneaks behind the defense. Boxes out opponents with his frame, extends to pull the ball from the air and exposes himself to the big hit in order to make the reception. Displays solid eye/hand coordination and outstanding timing. Gives effort blocking and gets results. Slow releasing off the line, cannot run to the deep ball and lacks a second gear. Must improve his route-running skills. A big-play receiver on the college level, Hurd is one of the more underrated wideouts in the draft. Lacks classic size/speed numbers yet should have no problem making a roster in the NFL.

Pre-2010: In 2006, the Cowboys had a very productive day-after-the-draft when they convinced Sam Hurd and Miles Austin to sign with the team as developmental prospects who they could at least get to contribute on special teams - but maybe even turn into something behind Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn, and Patrick Crayton. As Hurd's career went on, he was far more visible as a special teams coverage contributor, and has risen to the top of that ranking. But, the crossroads of his career might have been the Denver game early in 2009 when Roy Williams left because of injury. Targeted for 2 plays on the goal-line late in the 4th Quarter that fell incomplete with Champ Bailey in coverage might have been the opportunity that every reserve covets. We will never know what might have happened if he had caught one of those two slants, but instead, the next week in Kansas City, Miles Austin was the one who grabbed the chance by the scruff of the neck and set records for receiving in a single game. Since then, Hurd's opportunities on offense have been quite rare.

2010: In 2010, two players wanted to leave Dallas because of the drafting of Dez Bryant and the feeling that this logjam at receiver would leave them as spectators. Patrick Crayton eventually was granted his wish and ended up playing a reasonable role in San Diego. Sam Hurd, later rescinded his demand, and embraced his job of being a special teams leader and standout for the team. Over the past two seasons, Hurd has been on the scene on most kickoff coverage and punt coverage situations, and serves a very important purpose in that regard. For the 2nd year in a row, Hurd led the team in special teams tackles and served as the captain of special teams. Every team needs a few players designated to anchoring your special teams or you will lose 1 or 2 games a year that you shouldn't have lost. The issue, of course, is expense. Should you pay $1.75 million to a player who rarely steps on the field for a play from scrimmage? He did get to play 214 snaps this season, but most of them (109) occurred in December when Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, and Roy Williams experienced injury issues. Hurd himself missed Game 16 in Philadelphia because of injury.

2011 Analysis: With unrestricted free agency hitting Hurd, there is a very good chance that his days in Dallas have been completed. However, in a league where teams are realizing that special teams need some constants, it is not out of the question that he could once again be brought back in that capacity. As a WR, he has reached his ceiling with the Cowboys, and will continue to be used in rare scenarios. His return is likely based on his offers from elsewhere where he might be promised some chances as a Wide-out.

Previous Profiles:
Doug Free
Marc Colombo
Sam Young
Alex Barron
DeMarcus Ware
Anthony Spencer
Victor Butler
Brandon Williams
Jason Witten
Martellus Bennett
John Phillips
Bradie James
Keith Brooking
Sean Lee
Leon Williams

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