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Falcons over/under: How many yards will TE Hayden Hurst get in 2020?

Can he surpass the numbers Austin Hooper put up last year?

NFL: New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

As we wind down the over/under series and head into this 2020 NFL season, Falcons fans will be closely watching several new players on the offense. While Todd Gurley is the big name most will be focused on, the performance of Hayden Hurst could be critical in how the season goes.

With Austin Hooper hitting free agency, the former first round pick is expected to come in and contribute immediately. Today, we consider just how many yards he may pick up in his first year in Atlanta.

The baseline

Because Hurst was in a run heavy offense in 2019, we’re going to look at how Austin Hooper did in 2019. In 13 games, he was able to amass 787 yards for an average of about 60 yards per game. Over a 16 game schedule, that would have lead to roughly 970 yards.

That, however, was with 4 years of experience catching balls from Matt Ryan. On the flip side, Hurst appears to be more athletic and able to pick up more yards per catch. Over his career, Hooper averages about 10.5 ypc while Hurst averages nearly 12.

With all of that in mind, I’m going to set the baseline at 900 yards, which is about 56 yards per game. If Hurst can average just 5 catches per game, he’ll hit that baseline easily.

Rationale for the over

As mentioned above, hitting 900 yards should be very doable if Hurst can play all 16 games and get just 5 catches per game (based on his career ypc of 11.9). Given the fact that the Falcons don’t have Mohamed Sanu taking some of those underneath routes, Hurst should see as much opportunity as Hooper did if not more. His athleticism may make him an even more effective target than Hooper was.

Rationale for the under

Experience with the Falcons. Given the nature of the current season amidst the pandemic, Hurst is fighting an uphill battle to get comfortable with Matt Ryan and vice versa. He’s tasked with learning a new offense and he’s never put up numbers like this before. There’s simply no benchmark to accurately measure him against. While he will likely get a fair number of targets, all indications are that Calvin Ridley is ready to take a big step forward this year. Between Julio Jones and Ridley, will Hurst actually see that many targets per game?

Your thoughts

Vote in our poll below and leave your thoughts in the comments.

Poll

Over/Under: Hurst yardage

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    He’ll get over 900 yards
    (207 votes)
  • 48%
    I’ll take the under
    (195 votes)
402 votes total Vote Now