The Baltimore Ravens could have one of their stronger tight end duos in recent memory. After adding Hayden Hurst (25th overall) and Mark Andrews (86th overall) in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Ravens now have a dynamic duo of tight ends that can catch the ball.
Though Hurst only had just three touchdown receptions in his three-year college career, he has been shown to be extremely dynamic in open space and has the ability to line up in different spots. Hurst has strong hands and has ability to shed tackles. According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, he is compared to Dallas Clark.
In Hurst’s game tape versus Michigan, he was able to make some key blocks and caught three passes for 41 receiving yards (12.1 yards per reception). He also made a nice contested catch at 2:55 to move the chains for South Carolina.
Hurst’s surehandedness is also profiled by Gordon McGuinness of Pro Football Focus.
“He [Hurst] did not have a drop from 43 catchable passes in 2017 and he also excelled on contested targets, something that will be perfect for working with Flacco,” said McGuinness.
As for Andrews, he was one of the more prolific tight ends during the 2017 NCAA Football season. He hauled in 62 receptions for 958 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Andrews won the John Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end and was named a unanimous All-American.
Andrews put together a strong game against Kansas State in 2017. Though he didn’t show off much explosiveness, he found ways to sit down in the soft spaces between coverage to make seven catches for 61 yards.
He can make plays in the end zone and post up corners when he gets the chance. He’ll use his 6’5, 254 lbs. frame to beat up on smaller defenders. Though he’ll never out-speed safeties or corners, he can use his route running to get open.
McGuinness was also high on Andrews’ play in college, praising his hands.
“Dynamic as a receiver as Oklahoma, Andrews averaged 2.63 yards per route run, the third-most among tight ends in the draft class,” McGuinness said. “He wasn’t quite as sure-handed as Hurst, with three drops from 65 catchable passes, but his hands are certainly not something to be concerned about.”
Baltimore also drafted a pair of tight ends in both the 2010 NFL Draft (Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson) and the 2015 NFL Draft (Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle). Pitta and Dickson’s best year as a duo came in 2011, when they combined for 94 receptions, 933 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Williams and Boyle combined for 50 receptions, 421 receiving yards and one touchdown in 2015.
By making these selections, the Ravens are hedging their bets on two tights end who have shown the ability to be offensive weapons. The days of purely blocking tight ends are gone. In today’s NFL, tight ends must be flexible enough to line up all over the offensive side of the field.