With the Falcons letting Austin Hooper walk in 2020, an acquisition had to happen, and the trade for Hayden Hurst was a bit of a necessity. While the team obviously likes Jaeden Graham, they really needed someone that could potentially step into that TE1 role on day one. Hurst was playing in a run heavy offense and behind some other very good tight ends in Baltimore, so there’s some hope his talent was being hidden there.
Let’s take a look at what kind of touchdown numbers he may put up in 2020.
The most direct comparison is to look at how Austin Hooper did in Atlanta the last couple of years. Despite missing 3 games in 2019, he was able to pull in 6 receiving touchdowns. He had 4 in 2018. In 2016, Jacob Tamme and Hooper both had 3 touchdowns each. Based on this, it looks like the tight end position - collectively - is good for somewhere around 6 touchdowns each year. We’ll set the baseline for Hurst just under that at 5.5.
The case for the over
Hooper likely would have netted one or two more touchdowns in a fully healthy season, especially one in which Mohamed Sanu was traded and Calvin Ridley missed some time due to injury. For Hurst, he’s likely going to be thrust into that TE1 role immediately, so his production should be similar, if not somewhat shy of what Hooper did. Pulling in 6 touchdowns with Matt Ryan at QB and a pass happy coordinator should be doable, especially with offenses eyeing Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley as likely red zone targets.
The case for the under
The big question mark is whether Hurst can produce in a bigger role. The athleticism is there, but the production isn’t, even if his rate stats seem like they’ll scale well. We also don’t know how quickly he’ll acclimate to playing with Ryan and the presence of Jones and Ridley could just as easily take red zone targets away from him as they push them to him. He looks like a promising player, but a pandemic-impacted season may stunt his ability to get integrated immediately.
What’s your take? Do you think Hurst will slot right in and be productive or is it going to be an uphill climb?
Over/Under: Hurst TDs
This poll is closed
I’ll take the over