The Falcons’ tight ends room might be the busiest place in the NFL on an already wild day. After letting Austin Hooper walk and releasing Luke Stocker, the team is now making a splash trade. The Ravens have shipped tight end Hayden Hurst to Atlanta, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Baltimore is getting back an impressive haul, as they’re receiving second and fifth round picks in the 2020 draft while sending back a fourth-round selection to Atlanta. The Ravens drafted Hurst in the first-round in 2018, but he immediately took a backseat behind Mark Andrews, who Baltimore took in the third round of that same draft. Hurst missed the first handful of weeks of his rookie season after suffering a stress fracture in his foot, and he said the injury nagged him the whole year.
He ended up catching only 13 passes for 163 yards that year. While he took a step forward this past season with 30 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns, he was still expendable as Andrews emerged into one of the top tight ends in the league. There was a report a couple of weeks ago that while teams were calling the Ravens weren’t necessarily inclined to trade the South Carolina product, so clearly they were blown away by the offer.
As for the Falcons, they’ve now got their guy to replace Hooper. A second-round pick is a hefty price to give up for a player who hasn’t topped 350 yards in two years, but Hurst has shown plenty of flashes and had the misfortune of getting stuck behind Andrews. Hurst is already 26 though thanks to a couple of years spent playing minor league baseball after high school, and he’s actually more than a year older than Hooper is.
Atlanta will definitely be questioned for the decision to let Hooper walk and then give up this pick for a less-proven and older player, but Hooper landed a massive deal they weren’t willing to match and they had to do something to address the position.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.