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2018 NFL Draft Profile: Tight End Hayden Hurst

By Luis Tirado Jr.
COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 9: Tight end Hayden Hurst #81 of the South Carolina Gamecocks gets past Marcell Frazier #16 of the Missouri Tigers as he goes in for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, MO - SEPTEMBER 9: Tight end Hayden Hurst #81 of the South Carolina Gamecocks gets past Marcell Frazier #16 of the Missouri Tigers as he goes in for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
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Here’s the 2018 NFL Draft profile on tight end Hayden Hurst out of South Carolina breaking down his strengths, weaknesses, video highlights, and a draft day prediction.

Tight end Hayden Hurst is all about athleticism in the grand scheme of things. Believe it or not, he was supposed to have a career in Major League Baseball as a pitcher but his love of professional football called him back to the gridiron.

Hurst ended up being a walk-on player at South Carolina and quickly made a name for himself as being capable of catching anything thrown his way and making big plays. His overall stats won’t exactly scream starting tight end right from the start but make no mistake about it, Hurst has what it takes to be a starter and do well at the pro level once he gets additional coaching and training.

Here’s a full draft profile on Hurst that breaks down his strengths, weaknesses, showcases his reliability in receiving passes, and a draft day prediction as to when he’ll be selected.

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STRENGTHS

At 6-5 and 250 lbs., many will see him as the next incarnation of Rob Gronkowski. He’s big, fast, and loves to do whatever it takes to make a big play. Has a great motor and listens well to coaching as he’s known to be a true student of the game to perfect his craft. Hauled in 100 receptions for 1,281 receiving yards in just three years at South Carolina. Natural born playmaker as it will often time take several defenders to bring him down once he has the football.

WEAKNESSES

Due to changing career paths, Hurst will be 25-years-old as he enters the pros which might scare some general managers due to the likelihood of him having a short career by the time he’s ready to be a full-time starter. Hurst excels as a receiving option but will need work on bolstering his pass and run-blocking techniques. Will have a steep learning curve if he’s thrown into a starting position too soon which will cause him to struggle with the basics at first.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

DRAFT DAY PREDICTION

Due to Hurst changing careers a bit later than usual, teams know that he brings a lot to the table and can contribute to a degree the moment he’s drafted. If he’s brought in as a backup and can learn from a veteran above him, could be a solid tight end for years to come as he’s eased into more playing time. If he’s given an opportunity to learn from the sideline for a bit, will be better off. Expect to see Hurst drafted in the early to mid third round.

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