If you’re like me, you’re more about stocking up on RBs and WRs if you don’t get one of the better tight ends earlier in the draft at a value. Sometimes I end up punting the tight end position altogether, and either draft one with one of my last picks or don’t draft one at all and pick one a streamer who I like for Week 1. Hayden Hurst is one of the undrafted guys I’ll be looking at either with my last pick or picking up after my draft.
When Joe Flacco has had capable tight ends, he peppers them with targets… although they mostly have a low aDOT, which means they’re only interesting in PPR. Ben Watson had 59 receptions last season, and Dennis Pitta had 86 catches in 2016. With the innovative mind of Greg Roman being promoted to assistant head coach and and also retaining his tight ends coach role for the Ravens, previously offensive coordinator for the Bills and 49ers, there can be some emphasis on the run game along with some creative concepts in the pass game. He loves incorporating 2-tight end and 2-back sets, with the H-back being a key position on the offense.
Well, after the Ravens traded down a couple of times in the first round, they landed arguably the best tight end in the draft in Hayden Hurst, who played the H-back position at South Carolina. Reports out of OTAs say that he has great hands, can block well, and that he has gained the trust of his QBs. A guy like Vernon Davis stretched the field for Roman in San Francisco, leading the league in 20+ yard targets between 2011 and 2013. Davis was a freak, but Flacco’s affinity towards the tight end can push Hurst into the spotlight in that offense in Year 1. The H-back position provides a real mismatch in the pass game, and with his blocking ability, I don’t see how Hurst doesn’t step into the now-vacant tight end role that Ben Watson left and plays on most snaps. The Ravens did draft Mark Andrews, who is a pure pass-catcher as well, but his limited blocking ability might keep him off the field more often than not in his first year.
This is a situation to monitor, and I’ll be listening to what comes out of camp and preseason. If I’m punting the position, I can pick him up for potential relevance. Who are your favorite sleepers at TE?