The Falcons filled the tight end void that Austin Hooper left this offseason with Hurst. Hurst hasn’t put up any spectacular numbers in his two NFL seasons, but Sessler believes Atlanta will give him the chance to.
“Consider this a projection for Hurst, who fills an Austin Hooper-shaped void for the Falcons,” Sessler wrote on Hurst. “Hooper nabbed a pair of Pro Bowl nods after snatching 146 passes from Matt Ryan over the past two seasons. Hurst, meanwhile, squeezed out just 43 grabs over his first two campaigns in Baltimore while playing second-fiddle to Mark Andrews. Ryan sees the potential, though, calling Hurst one of the ‘fastest and most athletic tight ends I’ve ever played with.’ Tight ends have thrived in Atlanta, providing evidence that Hurst is ready to make good on the first-round pedigree that saw him picked by the Ravens ahead of planetary wonder Lamar Jackson in 2018.”
Matt Ryan Calls Hayden Hurst a Mismatch Problem
Ryan caught a glimpse of what to expect from Hurst this season and it’s safe to say he’s impressed:
“He is for sure one of the fastest and most athletic tight ends I’ve ever played with,” Ryan said on Tuesday during a local media conference. “He’s a mismatch problem, he’s going to create separation and win in different ways than those guys did.”
Ryan also praised Hurst for his work ethic and attitude.
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Hurst Is Joining A Tight End Friendly Offense
Unlike in Baltimore, Hurst is joining a tight end friendly offense under Falcons’ offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.
In two seasons with the Ravens, Hurst has caught 43 passes for 512 yards and three touchdowns. He earned a 72.4 grade from Pro Football Focus last season which landed him at No. 14 among all NFL tight ends.
With Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley drawing most of the attention from the opposing defense, Hurst will likely be open for passes. He will have plenty of chances to make some plays and hopefully, snag some interceptions.
Hurst Knows He’s Valuable
It’s a good thing when players know their strengths because it means they’re confident and when they’re confident, they play better.
Hurst is excited to show off his speed on the field this season and his versatility at the tight end position.
“Being 6-foot-5, 265 pounds, and being able to run the way I do puts a lot of stress on linebackers and safeties,” Hurst said when he joined Atlanta in March. “I think I’m able to stretch the field vertically really well. I’m so excited for the opportunity, I think it’s going to be awesome for my skillset.”
Hurst potentially being Ryan’s go-to guy this season makes sense Sessler has high hopes on Hurst having a Pro Bowl year.
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