After Atlanta Falcons’ starting tight end Austin Hooper left for Cleveland, the Falcons fully invested in former Ravens’ TE, Hayden Hurst. Atlanta sent a second- and a fifth-round pick to Baltimore in exchange for Hurst and a fourth-round selection.
Hurst is ready to prove that Atlanta didn’t waste their time or money on the former first-rounder.
The 27-year-old joined NFL Network earlier this week where he described himself as being the “perfect fit” for Atlanta.
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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—the same kind of offensive scheme Hurst was used to in college.
“It’s little more familiar and what I’m comfortable with”, Hurst said of Atlanta’s offense on NFL Network. “You know in Baltimore’s, everything went through Lamar and it was more run-heavy. For me to be in a pass offense, where I can use my size and my speed and get open, and make plays from Matt, I think it’s a perfect fit.”
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.
With Jones and 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.
Hurst’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 in a timed race, then you know every number on that clock counts for something.
What’s even fascinating is Hurst’s explosiveness 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.
“I’m happy to be here in Atlanta”, Hurst said It’s just a great opportunity for me. Like I said, I’m more familiar with it. I kinda go out there a cut it loose, which I’m at my best when I can play fast.”
A New Fire Lit Within Hurst
Hurst has been working extra hard this offseason knowing he has a lot to prove, after failing to produce the way a first-rounder should.
Ryan caught a glimpse of what to expect from Hurst this season and it’s safe to say he’s impressed. Ryan called him a “mismatch problem” and praised his work ethic and attitude.
“I heard all the rumblings in Baltimore. I obviously wasn’t producing like a first-rounder should,” Hurst said. “I have a fire in me right now with a chip on my shoulder. I’m going to go out there and prove I was a first-round pick.”
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