|ADP||Rec||Rec Yds||Rec TDs||100||Fum|
What You Need to Know:
-Volume propelled Hurst to a TE9 finish last season. He ran the 4th most routes among TEs and averaged nearly 5.5 targets per game.
-This came in a season that saw only 9 appearances from Julio Jones.
-Hurst filled a short-range role (7.6-yard average depth of target) and wasn’t much of a big-play threat with only 10.2 YPC.
-Among 26 TEs with 50+ targets, Hurst ranked 23rd in yards per route run (1.08, a career low).
-4 of his 6 TDs surfaced in the red zone. He tallied only 5 fewer red zone looks than Calvin Ridley (15 vs. 20).
-2021 brings a significant change, most notably with the arrival of top pick Kyle Pitts. A generational player on tape, Pitts will command a sizable target share right away.
-Julio Jones was traded to the Titans in June. Last year, he was on pace for 121 targets.
-Losing Jones theoretically allows Pitts to play more of a “big slot” role and potentially add in-line snaps to Hurst’s plate. Last year, the former Raven played 43.4% of his snaps in-line.
-Hurst, though, was among the league’s worst graded run and pass-blocking TEs (via Pro Football Focus). Atlanta did add pure blocking TE Lee Smith in free agency.
-New HC Arthur Smith, a former TE coach and the Titans OC last year, used 2-TE sets on a league-high 35% of the team’s snaps last year.
-Don’t count out Hurst as at least a potential streamer in FFPC formats. As Titans OC last year, Smith’s TEs combined for a massive 29.4% target share.
-Look for the Falcons’ pass volume to come down, though. They just ranked 1st league-wide in raw attempts (684) and pass rate (65.4%).
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
A favorable environment helped Hurst post career highs in 2020.
2021, though, looks like a year for sharp regression. Kyle Pitts is a clear upgrade, and even at 20, he projects as an immediate contributor. The Julio Jones trade helps Hurst, but the latter will still need some good fortune to have a legit shot at cracking TE2 range.