Ebony Bird Round-Table: Baltimore Ravens to watch in preseason
Ian Schultz: Hayden Hurst
The Ravens player I am most looking forward to watching this preseason is 2018 first round pick Hayden Hurst. “Ginger Thor” as many have nicknamed him, really struggled in his rookie year with the Ravens after being selected 25th overall just one year ago.
Hurst was a failed MLB prospect and this second season represents a major opportunity for him to make sure his football playing career doesn’t suffer the same fate. The 6’4 245-pound Hurst tallied just 13 catches for 163-yards and touchdown last season and fell behind fellow rookie tight end Mark Andrews from jump street.
Hurst was having a really nice camp last season before he broke a bone in his foot and he never seemed to be able to recover. The South Carolina product had 44 catches for 559-yards and two touchdowns in his junior year before making the leap to the pros. The Ravens could use Hurst to regain some of that magic and help the Ravens in being able to form one of the best pass catching tight end duos in the NFL.
Lamar Jackson seems to have developed a very nice rapport with Andrews and adding another big target over the middle of the field will only help the Ravens second year quarterback. If Hurst is able to put together a nice preseason, defenses would have to figure out how to match up with the Ravens twin towers in the middle of the field.
Ideally, with a strong pre-season the Ravens will be able to show a lot of two tight end looks on a regular basis. Being able to add layers of complexity to the offense in such ways will help the Ravens be able to keep teams off balance and guessing in the 2019 season.
Hurst is a huge part of that coming to fruition and I am hopeful that he gets off to the right foot in the 2019 preseason. Most important, however, is that Hurst stays healthy.