Hayden Hurst

South Carolina
TE

Prospect Info

College
South Carolina
Hometown
Class
Jacksonville, FL
Junior
Height
Weight
Arms
6' 5"
250 lbs
32 3/4”
Hands
9 3/4”

Prospect Grade

5.90
Chance to Become NFL Starter
How We Grade

2018 Draft Results

Drafted by
Baltimore
Ravens
Round 1 ‧ Pick 25
40 Yard Dash
4.67
Seconds
Bench Press
--
Reps
 
Vertical Jump
31.5
INCHES
 
Broad Jump
120.0
INCHES
 
3 Cone Drill
7.19
Seconds
 
20 Yd Shuttle
4.37
Seconds
 
60 Yd Shuttle
12.15
Seconds
 
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Playlist

Hurst's athletic career was on a different path at first, as the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him in the 17th round for the 2012 Major League Draft as a pitcher. He spent two years at rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League (hitting .245 at first base in 2014) before trying to get back to football. Hurst walked on for the Gamecocks in the summer of 2015, playing in 12 games as a receiver and tight end, starting once, and making eight catches for 106 yards. He became a star in 2016, starting all 13 games at tight end and setting school records at the position for receptions (48) and yards (616) by consistently nabbing everything thrown his way and outmuscling defenders downfield (he scored one touchdown as well). Hurst was the first sophomore in USC history to be a team captain, albeit as a 23 year-old. The following year, he earned first-team All-SEC recognition by catching 44 passes for 559 yards and two touchdowns. Hurst had Tommy John surgery as an eighth-grader.
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Round 1
NFL Comparison
Dallas Clark
Overview
Hurst's initial opportunity at athletic stardom came up short in baseball, but he has his second shot and plays like every down could be his last. His fearless play demeanor combined with size, strength and athleticism make him a well-rounded prospect with the versatility to line up all over the field. He's sure-handed and could become a young quarterback's safety blanket if he improves elements of his route running. He should see early snaps and has the ability to become a good combination tight end.
Strengths
  • Good combination of size and quickness
  • Moved all over field
  • Rabid and rowdy in his play
  • Quick release into routes
  • Athletic with above-average play speed for the position
  • Willing and capable pass catcher on all three levels
  • Has the feet and acceleration to burst open from breaks
  • Separates from garden-variety linebackers in coverage
  • Instant opener when sinking into zone holes
  • Hands are sticky and ball focus is elite
  • Had one drop against 100 career catches
  • Reliable inside the hash marks
  • Makes subtle moves to shield catch-point from linebackers
  • Secures through contact
  • Runs with power and balance after the catch
  • Will seek out collisions rather than running out of bounds
  • Has frame and grit to improve as in-line blocker
  • Capable move blocker able to adjust to targets
Weaknesses
  • Will be a 25-year-old rookie when next season starts
  • Appears to be giving route clues to defenders at times
  • Doesn't manipulate defender often enough from breaks and stems
  • Out-breaking routes have been getting jumped for two consecutive seasons
  • Had safeties run his routes on various occasions
  • Will need work as in-line blocker
  • Hands fly out wide into first contact
  • Can improve his play strength at point of attack if he gets his hand placement right
  • Ducks head into contact
  • Won't always look to improve positioning with quality footwork after contact
Sources Tell Us

"He's a grown man out there. No, he is literally a grown man. I love watching him play but he's 24 now so I think he's maxed out. He is who he's going to be physically so now we have to see how much better he gets as a football player." -- NFC Player Personnel Executive

News

Path to the Draft

Final quick-snap 2018 NFL Draft grades for all 32 teams

Best and most worrisome picks from the 2018 NFL Draft

Winners and losers from Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft

Winners and losers from Rounds 2, 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft

GRADE
9.00-10
Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99
Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99
Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49
Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49
Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99
Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49
NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99
Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
NO GRADE
Likely needs time in developmental league