Hayden Hurst Draft Profile
Hayden Hurst Draft Profile
- Can stretch the field
- Solid receiver
- Willing blocker
- Soft hands
- Can beat linebackers in space
Analysis: Hayden Hurst is a former baseball player who spent time in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization before trying his hand at football. Hurst has a good combination of size and speed–he lined up all over the field at South Carolina working as an in-line tight end, split out wide as a receiver and as an H-back. I was surprised how often the Gamecocks used him as the runner on reverses, jet sweeps etc. but that shows his versatility and athleticism. He is a willing and capable pass catcher on all three levels. His hands are sticky and ball focus is elite. Had one drop against 100 career catches. Reliable inside the hash marks. Makes subtle moves to shield catch-point from linebackers. Secures through contact. Runs with power and balance after the catch. Hurst is a willing blocker, not shy from contact, but as you’ll read in his weaknesses, willing and solid are two separate things.
- Older prospect-will be 25 when 2018 season starts
- Route running–has ‘tells’ giving clues to defenders
- Stiff in and out of routes
- Struggles blocking against larger, powerful lineman
- Play strength is not ideal
- Footwork as a blocker
Analysis: Due to Hurst playing baseball out of high school, he will be a 25-year-old rookie next season. His potential has reached its limit. You know exactly what you are getting in Hurst and NFL teams should not expect a lot of growth from him as a football player. Watching his tape, I could diagnose and read exactly what Hurst was going to run before he ran it. Defenders are much better at that than I am, so you can imagine them reading Hurst and his ‘tells’. He gives route clues to defender consistently. Hurst does not manipulate defenders often enough from breaks and stems. Out-breaking routes have been getting jumped for two consecutive seasons. Had safeties run his routes on various occasions. His ability as an in-line blocker needs work–he is overpowered by strong defensive lineman with ease. Injury concerns are an issue when he does block–he constantly ducks his head into defenders as he is attempting to block them. Run blocking footwork is iffy. Play strength is not ideal.
I am not as high on Hayden Hurst as some draft experts are. I wouldn’t touch Hurst until Day 3, but knowing the need of NFL teams to have a capable tight end who can stretch the field, he should be selected on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. His blocking skills are not ideal, especially against larger defensive lineman. His route running needs a lot of work and commitment–too many ‘tells’ give away his pattern to defenders before he even breaks off his route. Hands are excellent and if he can correct those route running flaws he can become a solid receiving tight end in the NFL–just don’t ask him to run block consistently.
Size: 6’5 250lbs
Draft Rank: No.4 TE
NFL Comparison: Ricky Seals-Jones
Draft Projection: Day 2 pick
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