After a June 25 post on Rotoworld.com indicated that Ravens TE Hayden Hurst was questionable for training camp due to lingering hamstring issues, NBC Sports Washington published a post of its own relaying that message. Hurst succinctly tweeted that he is not, in fact, questionable for training camp, and NBC Sports Washington updated its previous post to say that Hurst will be ready to go when the team reconvenes next month.
That is obviously welcome news for Ravens fans. Much of the attention on the Ravens’ offseason has focused upon the departure of some key defensive players, the development of second-year QB Lamar Jackson, and whether the club will regret relying so heavily on two rookies (Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin) at wide receiver. But for all of those concerns, the club could boast the best TE corps in the league — which would obviously help Jackson’s progress and take some pressure off the rookie wideouts — if Hurst can remain healthy.
Still, that’s a big “if.” Last August, Hurst underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot that cost him the first quarter of the 2018 season, and he conceded during a recent interview on 105.7 The Fan that he never felt quite right the rest of the year. Hurst was Baltimore’s first of two first-round draft choices last year, but he was decidedly overshadowed by 2018 third-rounder Mark Andrews, who enjoyed a terrific rookie campaign and who is one of the main sources of optimism for the Ravens’ offense.
Hurst also tweaked his hamstring earlier this month and was held out of an OTA as a result — which gave rise to the apparently erroneous Rotoworld post — but he was a full participant in minicamp and expects to make a big jump in Year 2. In addition to being a smooth route runner with excellent hands, Hurst is a strong blocker, which will be essential to the Ravens’ run-heavy attack. He says he has added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason, which should bolster his blocking abilities without detracting from his receiving talents.
In 2018, the former Pittsburgh Pirates farmhand caught just 13 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore will be counting on a major improvement on those numbers in 2019.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.