With the draft fast approaching Thursday night, the Jaguars are looking to put their successful 2017 season in the rear view mirror, and focus on building for the future.
They extended Blake Bortles contract, but let Allen Robinson walk. They also brought back, but then, released veteran tight end, Marcedes Lewis. All these moves left an opening for another offensive weapon and potentially, one at tight end.
Enter South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, Jacksonville native and former MLB draft pick in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Hurst is projected to be a late first round or early second round selection and this could be a homecoming for him.
Tuesday, he joined 1010 XL / 92.5 FM radio in Jacksonville and talked about his preparations.
— 1010 XL / 92.5 FM (@1010XL) April 24, 2018
Though it would be a great story for him to end up with the hometown Jags, it’s actually a match for both parties.
He’s sure-handed and could become a young quarterback’s safety blanket. Hurst caught 92 passes for 12.8 yard average and three touchdowns his last two years with the Gamecocks.
After seeing the play action pass game for the Jags last season, it’s clear a young tight end could have a significant impact on the offense. With the loss of a big play wideout in Robinson, Hurst can supply short to medium help and offset what was lost on the outside.
Hurst isn’t a perfect prospect, because he would coming in already as a 25-year-old rookie. He can also work on his route running and inline blocking to become a complete player.
While at South Carolina, Hurst totaled 1,175 yards and dropped only one pass. However, he could compliment free agent signing Austin Seferian-Jenkins. And one or both, could be the receiving tight end the Jags have been looking for and lacking over the past few seasons.
The Jags are picking 29th and there is legitimate debate on whether Hurst will still be there in round one or not. And, they should not be turned off by Hurst’s age being significantly older than most rookies.
With the team in “win now mode,” they can get an NFL ready tight end to step in and help the offense from day one.
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