One of Bill Parcells’ rules for the draft was to avoid players who are older and physically maxed out.
That rule, to which many teams adhere, will be put to the test by South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst. Hurst is one of the top tight ends -- and pass catchers -- in the 2018 NFL Draft, which is a position of need for several teams. However, he is also going to be one of the oldest players in the draft.
Tight end isn’t a concern for the New York Giants, who have invested quite a bit in the position recently. However, Hurst is a good player and will be something of a wild card in how the draft board shakes out over the first two days of the draft.
- Prototypical size and frame for an NFL tight end.
- Schematically versatile. Played fullback, in-line tight end, and slot receiver for South Carolina
- Fluid athlete and a natural hands catcher.
- Mature. Played 2 years in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system (first base) before walking on to play football at South Carolina.
- Stout blocker. Has the strength to match up with defensive ends.
- Old for a rookie at 25 years old, and is physically mature.
- Needs to work on his technique as a route runner and blocker.
What They’re Saying
SOURCES TELL US
“He’s a grown man out there. No, he is literally a grown man. I love watching him play but he’s 24 now so I think he’s maxed out. He is who he’s going to be physically so now we have to see how much better he gets as a football player.” -- NFC Player Personnel Executive
Does He Fit The Giants?
The New York Giants are likely set at tight end and probably won’t be looking to add any highly in the 2018 NFL Draft.
If they were, I would hope that Hurst would be high on their list.
He needs to work on his route running, particularly his footwork in and out of his breaks, as well as his blocking technique and getting his hands inside defenders’ framework.
However he really does do almost everything well. He is athletic enough to pose match-up problems to back-seven players, and is stout enough as a blocker to be a 3-down player. The biggest question about Hurst is his age. It will be interesting to see where the NFL values a rookie who will have his 25th birthday just before the start of the season, and he will be almost 30 by the time his second contract rolls around. As a player, age aside, I would expect him to be drafted on the second day, either some time in the second round or high in the third. However, his age and the fact that he likely won’t get bigger, stronger, or faster might weigh on some teams.