The Baltimore Ravens traded back twice before finally making their first-round selection on Thursday night in the 2018 NFL Draft. With the 25’th overall pick, the Ravens drafted South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst.
Right as the Ravens came on the clock at pick #16, it was announced that the Buffalo Bills traded the very first pick of the third round (#65) to Baltimore, who moved down to the 22’nd overall pick. Buffalo also received pick #154 (fifth round) from the Ravens in the trade. Then, when the Ravens were on the clock for pick #22, they traded back again, this time with the Tennessee Titans. The Ravens moved down to pick #25 and also received pick #125 (fourth round), while the Titans received pick #215 (sixth round).
Hurst, 24-years-old from Jacksonville, will turn 25 on Aug. 24. That’s due in-part to the fact that Hurst was also a 17’th-round draft pick in the 2012 Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hurst played two years of rookie ball in 2013-14 before walking onto South Carolina’s football team.
Entering the draft, the biggest hole on the Ravens’ roster was clearly the tight end position. Following the departure of Benjamin Watson, Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle, and Vince Mayle made up the tight end room for Baltimore. Neither of them has accumulated more than 268 receiving yards in a season. Ever since Dennis Pitta‘s hip injuries derailed his career, the Ravens have lacked a sure-handed, pass-catching tight end that Joe Flacco loves to utilize. Hurst could fill that hole.
Over three seasons at South Carolina, Hurst accumulated 100 receptions for 1,281 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged at least 12.7 yards-per-catch in every season, and started every game over the last two seasons. He stands at 6’5″, 250 pounds, and ran a 4.67-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine in February.
According to scouting reports, Hurst is a fiery competitor who can line up all over the field. Having played multiple sports, now professionally, Hurst is a natural athlete. He consistently catches the football and has quick feet. His route-running and physicality on the line need some work, but the Ravens desperately needed a tight end that can stretch the field and give Flacco a security blanket.
Following their first trade-back with the Bills, the Ravens will pick three times over the second and third rounds on Friday night. Baltimore will pick 52’nd overall in the second round, along with picks #65 and #83 in the third round. The second round will get underway at 7:00 p.m. EST on Friday evening.
Image Credit: My Fantasy Sports Talk