The Falcons fully invested in Hurst and set a second- and a fifth-round pick to the Ravens in exchange for Hurst and a fourth-round selection after Austin Hooper left for bigger (paycheck) and (not so much) better things in Cleveland.
It’s safe to safe Hurst understands Atlanta’s investment, his expectations, and how important his role is this season after shooting out this tweet:
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Hurst Is Joining A Potent Pass Attack Offense
Unlike in Baltimore, Hurst is joining a tight end friendly offense under Falcons’ offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.
On a run-heavy Ravens offense, Hurst was targeted 39 times and caught 30 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns in 2019. His first rookie season, he was targeted 23 times, caught 13 passes for 163 yards and one score.
Hurst is now joining a passing attack which that includes Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Todd Gurley.
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.
Matt Ryan Confirms Hayden Hurst Is 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.
Originally a walk-on at South Carolina University, Hurst ended up receiving a scholarship and set the school single-season record for receptions by a tight end with 48.
Making his transistion into the NFL in his two seasons with the Ravens so far, Hurst has caught 43 passes for 512 yards and three touchdowns.
Hurst earned a 72.4 grade from Pro Football Focus last season which landed him at No. 14 among all NFL tight ends.
Hurt’s Speed Is Unstoppable
Hooper might be missed by some this season, but Hurst’s speed asset on offense is bound to make up for it.
Going back in time, at the 2018 NFL combine Hurst ran a 40-yard dash in 4.67 seconds. Hooper was clocked a few seconds later at 4.72. If you have ever run track, you know every number on that clock counts for something.
What’s even fascinating is Hurst’s speed for his size. The 26-year-old is 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds while Hooper, on the other hand, is also 6-foot-4 but weighs just 254 pounds.
If Hurst gets the ball in an open field, there’s no stopping him from taking it to the house.