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Hurst hopes to flash his speed and blocking talents for the Falcons


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FALCONS 

55 minutes ago
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Tight end Hayden Hurst, who was acquired in a trade with the Ravens, is a bigger and faster version of former Falcons tight end Austin Hooper.

Hurst played last season at 265 pounds, which his nine pounds heavier than Hooper’s listed weight. He also runs the 40-yard dash in 4.67 seconds, while Hooper runs it in 4.72 seconds.

In a playoff-clinching win over Buffalo, Hurst broke loose for a 61-yard touchdown catch and reached 20.5 miles per hour on the play.

“When I got to Baltimore I put on some weight because of the run game, but I was able to maintain my speed,” Hurst told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday. “I played last year at 265 and that’s where I’m at right now. I think that’s a pretty good playing weight for me to handle the run game and I kept my speed as well.”

The speed part is what makes Hurst an intriguing replacement for Hooper. The Falcons were considering Hurst in the 2018 draft, but the Ravens selected him one position in front of Calvin Ridley.

 

Hooper made two trips to the Pro Bowl as an alternate, working mostly underneath the routes of wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley. Hooper ran a lot of crossing routes and found holes in zones.

With Hurst, the Falcons, if they get the right matchup, can shoot him up the seam of zones on deeper routes. 

“It’s going to be a perfect fit,” Hurst said. “(Offensive coordinator Dirk) Koetter’s pass-heavy offense is going to suit me well. It’s going to allow me to do some things that I personally do well (like) stretch the field vertically and hopefully create some mismatches for the other guys, Julio and Calvin. I saw where they’ve picked up Laquon Treadwell as well. It’s a pretty potent offense. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”

In the trade, the Falcons received the Ravens’ fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft, but gave up their second-round (55th) and a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft to get Hurst. With Hooper set to join the Browns in free agency and the release of tight end Luke Stocker, the Falcons were getting thin at the position.

 

Jaeden Graham and Carson Meier were the only two tight ends on the roster before the Hurst trade. 

Hurst’s career has gotten off to a slow start. He’s played in 28 games and has made just four starts for the Ravens. He’s caught 43 of 62 passes for 512 yards and three touchdowns. 

“My first year was tough with the whole stress fracture in my foot,” Hurst said. “I missed four games, but I felt like I was competing at a high level before (the injury). I finished my first season pretty well.

“I came back the next year and the way that (Ravens offensive coordinator) Greg Roman utilizes the tight ends in Baltimore is pretty unique to any situation. I think with me, Nick Boyle and Mark Andrews, we had quite the rotation at tight end. We all did things really well and complemented each other.”

 

Like most young tight ends, Hurst had to work on his blocking. 

“As far as the run game, that’s the thing that really helped me mature as a player,” Hurst said. “He utilized me down the field. I was able to make some plays there at the end of the season to help us win some ball games.”

Hurst, who has talked openly about his battle with depression and suicide attempt,  is a former baseball player who played three years in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system. After three years, he was invited to walk-on at South Carolina by Steve Spurrier Jr. After Spurrier Sr. retired/left, Will Muschamp moved Hurst to tight end.

“It was kind of whirlwind once I left the Pirates,” Hurst said. “I came back here to Jacksonville and actually practiced with Bolles, my old high school team.…the college coaches were coming by looking at the high school kids and coach Spurrier (Jr.) came down. He watched me practice with them one day and offered me the walk-on spot. The rest is kind of history from there.”

 

Hurst has spoke with Koetter, tight ends coach Ben Steele and coach Dan Quinn.  

“Me and coach Koetter talked last week and he told me about how he used Cameron Brate (in Tampa Bay) and the things he did with Hooper last year,” Hurst said. “It’s exciting to be a tight end in that offense, especially with how Matt (Ryan) throws the ball to the tight ends and utilizes them.”

Steele has provided some playbook materials for Hurst to start working on. 

“Coach Quinn reiterated the Brotherhood message and I think I’m going to fit that well,” Hurst said. “I always have been a team-first guy. Coach Muschamp really instilled that in us at South Carolina.”

TALE OF THE TAPE

HURST  Measurable HOOPER
6-5 Height (feet) 6-4
265 Weight (pounds) 254
32-3/4 Arms (inches) 33-3/4
9-3/4 Hands (inches) 10-5/8
4.67 40-yard dash (seconds) 4.72
31.5 Vertical (Inches 33
10 Broad jump (feet) 9 -7.5
7.19 3-cone (seconds) 7.0
4.37 20-yard shuttle (seconds) 4.32

 

https://www.ajc.com/sports/football/hurst-flash-his-speed-and-blocking-talents-for-the-falcons/R4dkEvtQozTCM58BXMGzvM/

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I had to read it 3 times to make certain I was reading it correctly, but...well, um, that was actually a good piece by

 

The most important thing I pulled out of there is the confirmation we will be using him in a way that fits his strengths.

Hooper is a different type of TE, and underneath guy who isn’t going to get a step on a defender and take it to the house or split a zone seam and hit the afterburners for a 60 yard TD.

This is what Hurst brings to the table, big play ability, quick strike TD from anywhere on the field. He does get separation in man and his top end speed is elite.  Great to see he spent a lot of time working on his blocking. Hooper was ok in run blocking, my understanding is Hurst might be a little better.

 

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3 minutes ago, LightningDawg58 said:

Hurst is faster yes, but Hoop is a better down field target than he is getting credit for. I think under Shanny he had some of his longest catches. (The broken play against the Bears aside)

I dont know if Sark or Dirk ever really used him downfield as much as his rookie year under Shanny

The  couple of long TDs  Hooper had under Shanny were busted defenses due to brilliant play designs. Hooper was standing there by himself 50 yards down field. Toilolo could have  made those plays if he would have caught the bill.

Hurst is a totally different kind of TE. 

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29 minutes ago, ATLSlobberKnockers said:

I think he will look a LOT more like he did at SC in our scheme

I live here in Columbia, SC, and we always discussed how Muschamp greatly underutilized him. He was a definite mismatch at the college level. Muschamp is a strong recruiter, guess that is why he has a job as an SEC Coach, but developing an Offense is not his strong suit. After not being showcased in the Offense he still became a #1-Pick. Hard to hide from a good scouting department!

Have no doubt he will take-up where Hooper left off and then some, as mentioned above.

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3 hours ago, Mister pudding said:

This will be looked at as the best signing of the season, dollar for dollar 

I think this dude has all pro potential but so does the other two we signed. So far I’m big on this ginger Thor.....but Fowler is the man is going to change Thai defense. He will allow jarret to play better and even takk. Defense wins championships....and on offense we have Julio Ridley gage and gurley Hayden is gonna have to fight for some of those catches that Hooper earned over the years.

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4 hours ago, 4dabirds said:

I'm excited to see what Hurst can do this season. It would be great to see this guy turn into the next great TE.

I'll just be happy if he rises above third-string.

Even IF he is a good TE, he is still just a TE. The squandered 2nd rounder could have been used for a player at a much more important position: DT, CB, C, even a budding superstar RB to replace Gurley when his knees collapse.

There is literally almost a 0% chance this trade helps us, even if he is everything you guys hope.

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6 hours ago, gazoo said:

I had to read it 3 times to make certain I was reading it correctly, but...well, um, that was actually a good piece by

 

The most important thing I pulled out of there is the confirmation we will be using him in a way that fits his strengths.

Hooper is a different type of TE, and underneath guy who isn’t going to get a step on a defender and take it to the house or split a zone seam and hit the afterburners for a 60 yard TD.

This is what Hurst brings to the table, big play ability, quick strike TD from anywhere on the field. He does get separation in man and his top end speed is elite.  Great to see he spent a lot of time working on his blocking. Hooper was ok in run blocking, my understanding is Hurst might be a little better.

 

I hope you didn’t give Hurst kiss of death like Saubert. Lol. TATF hyped Saubert over Hooper and we know how it ended. I think Hurst is a good move but with a big Question mark. Let’s see if he can live up to half of what Hooper did here. 

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1 hour ago, AxManBigFan said:

I think this dude has all pro potential but so does the other two we signed. So far I’m big on this ginger Thor.....but Fowler is the man is going to change Thai defense. He will allow jarret to play better and even takk. Defense wins championships....and on offense we have Julio Ridley gage and gurley Hayden is gonna have to fight for some of those catches that Hooper earned over the years.

Agreed, but Fowler was paid like a difference maker. I don't think we'll miss Hooper one lick either in the passing game, but especially blocking 

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1 hour ago, falcons007 said:

I hope you didn’t give Hurst kiss of death like Saubert. Lol. TATF hyped Saubert over Hooper and we know how it ended. I think Hurst is a good move but with a big Question mark. Let’s see if he can live up to half of what Hooper did here. 

I think you might be missing the point. I am not saying Hurst is going to be better than Hooper. I’m saying they have very different skill sets and different strengths. 

Hooper was very productive in keeping the chains moving, exceptional underneath, a 1st down machine. He also excelled at finding soft spots in zone coverages and crossing routes. But he wasn’t a deep threat, he wasn’t a threat to split the seam and take the ball 60 yards down field with safeties and CBs chasing him.

Hurst has elite top end speed and is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. He’s good at getting a step on a defender in man coverage or hitting a zone seam at full speed and scoring no matter where he is on the field. 

They are different like WRs Taylor Gabriel and Sanu were different. Different strengths. I never said which one was “better” overall, it’s apples to oranges.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Roanoke Falcon said:

I'll just be happy if he rises above third-string.

Even IF he is a good TE, he is still just a TE. The squandered 2nd rounder could have been used for a player at a much more important position: DT, CB, C, even a budding superstar RB to replace Gurley when his knees collapse.

There is literally almost a 0% chance this trade helps us, even if he is everything you guys hope.

Cmon now...you still won’t be happy. :D

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6 hours ago, Roanoke Falcon said:

I'll just be happy if he rises above third-string.

Even IF he is a good TE, he is still just a TE. The squandered 2nd rounder could have been used for a player at a much more important position: DT, CB, C, even a budding superstar RB to replace Gurley when his knees collapse.

There is literally almost a 0% chance this trade helps us, even if he is everything you guys hope.

The Falcons didn't trade for this guy to be third on the depth chart. If this guy turns out to be a better TE than Hooper, then he literally will help the Falcons score points. Yes, trading a 2nd could have been used in other areas of need, however, you make trades like this to find playmakers and Hurst looks the part. There is no doubt that the Falcons need more depth at CB, and I think they'll find it. As of right now, you have Oliver heading into year 3 (which is usually when CB's make a leap in the right direction), and an already improving Sheffield into year two. I believe the defense will be better coached this year as well, which showed to be one of the glaring issues during the first half of last year. I also think the Falcons will use all their early picks for defensive talent. 

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7 hours ago, Roanoke Falcon said:

I'll just be happy if he rises above third-string.

Even IF he is a good TE, he is still just a TE. The squandered 2nd rounder could have been used for a player at a much more important position: DT, CB, C, even a budding superstar RB to replace Gurley when his knees collapse.

There is literally almost a 0% chance this trade helps us, even if he is everything you guys hope.

Did you just complain about positional value and then list C, RB and DT as examples of positions we should have taken instead?  Even DT at #55 you are looking at run stuffers or developmental pass rushers.  

He was a receiving tight end in a run first offense, he will now be in a pass first offense.  It’s really not that hard to see positive here, but you seem to be finding anyway possible to hang on to the negative piece before he has even taken a snap here.

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9 hours ago, gazoo said:

I think you might be missing the point. I am not saying Hurst is going to be better than Hooper. I’m saying they have very different skill sets and different strengths. 

Hooper was very productive in keeping the chains moving, exceptional underneath, a 1st down machine. He also excelled at finding soft spots in zone coverages and crossing routes. But he wasn’t a deep threat, he wasn’t a threat to split the seam and take the ball 60 yards down field with safeties and CBs chasing him.

Hurst has elite top end speed and is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball. He’s good at getting a step on a defender in man coverage or hitting a zone seam at full speed and scoring no matter where he is on the field. 

They are different like WRs Taylor Gabriel and Sanu were different. Different strengths. I never said which one was “better” overall, it’s apples to oranges.

 

 

and the thing that separates the two big time is the cost!

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16 hours ago, Mister pudding said:

This will be looked at as the best signing of the season, dollar for dollar 

Unfortunately you are probably correct. What needs to be the best signing dollar for dollar is the one bringing Fowler over, but when has that worked out for us? Not since Abraham was here?

Bringing Hurst in with a 2nd is the least of our worries, that is a done deal. I live in Columbia, SC, and guarantee all Falcon Fans they are going to love this guy. He will 'Beast-out'!.

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